Councillors Discuss Changing Meeting Times

Councillors have discussed changing the times of their meetings so they suit Council staff and off-island members better.

Traditionally, meetings start at 9.30am between October and March. In April and September they start at 6.30pm. And, when it’s lighter in the evenings in June, July and August, they’re held at 7.00pm.

But recently, off-island members have had to leave early to catch boats home and that means they have missed important debates and decisions.

Members couldn’t reach agreement on the best timetable.

David Pearson thought an earlier meeting start at 6.30pm would be better and Amanda Martin agreed that would be the best option for off-island staff so they’d get home at a reasonable hour.

But Amanda felt there was merit in some 9.30am meetings, if mainland experts have to attend, as they do for education or health meetings. That would keep the cost down by reducing the need for overnight stays.

Administration Officer Sue Prichard produced a report suggesting that off-island councillors could stay over on St Mary’s if they couldn’t get a boat and claim their costs

Fred Ticehurst felt that evening meetings should start, in the main, at 7.00pm as officers who attend can then go home for a break after work, before going to the meeting.

Committee Chairmen should ensure that members get straight to the point, said Councillor Ticehurst, in a long speech.

Christine Savill say’s she’s not bothered either way, but feels that the retention of later evening starts would be better because she hopes some younger, employed people will stand for Council next May and meeting times should recognise that they may not finish work until 5.30pm.

Sue Pritchard’s report suggested that a subcommittee, the Democratic Processes Review Panel, should look at the options and make some suggestions. Councillors voted to follow that advice.


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