Meeting Schedule Discussion Revisited

OCEAN CITY — Just a week after the council voted down a proposal to drop regular meetings when they fall on the day after a Monday holiday, this week’s meeting provided a glimpse of the reasoning behind the decision.

During last week’s work session, City Clerk Diana Chavis presented to the Mayor and Council a proposed 2020 meeting schedule that included 45 meeting dates. The proposed scheduled dropped a regular meeting in June during the Maryland Municipal League convention and another Monday meeting during the White Marlin Open next year.

That schedule was ultimately approved by the council. However, during the same discussion, Councilman John Gehrig made a motion to drop three other meetings from the 2020 calendar including those regular sessions moved to Tuesday’s because of Monday holidays. That motion was eventually voted down after considerable discussion.

This week’s regular session was moved to Tuesday because of the Labor Day holiday on Monday, and although the agenda was fairly light with a couple of proclamations, a handful of private event approval requests on the consent agenda, a review of the subcommittee agendas for meetings next week and the second reading of an ordinance to approve a property purchase in midtown, Councilman Dennis Dare said it illustrated why those rare night meetings on Tuesdays should not be dropped.

“Last week, we had a considerable debate about not having these meetings after holidays and that motion didn’t pass, so here we are tonight and we’ve taken care of a lot of important business,” he said. “Those two proclamations would have had to be done in mid-August or in the middle of September when they were halfway through. The standing committee agendas would have to be set in mid-August weeks away from when the meetings were scheduled.”

Dare pointed out even the public comment period resulted in issues being raised that would be addressed for a few more weeks if the Tuesday meeting had been dropped.

“Two people brought issues to us tonight that wouldn’t be addressed if we didn’t meet tonight,” he said. “That is what I was trying to say last week. Operationally, it would create a lot of challenges if we dropped some of these meetings. We’ve met here tonight for about 45 minutes and we’ve accomplished a lot in that short time.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.