Monday, November 23, 2009
The Cape Girardeau County Commission plans to test the public's interest in attending its deliberative sessions. It has scheduled four night meetings next month (Dec. 7, 10, 14 and 17) all starting at 7 p.m. In addition, the commission is scheduling night meetings for the first Thursdays of January, February and March at 7 p.m.
The intent is to give the public more access to the commission's regular meetings. The commission historically has met on weekday mornings when some individuals who might want to participate have to work.
The four night meetings in December will be during the commission's budget deliberations. These meetings rarely draw much interest from anyone other than officeholders whose operations, staffing and salaries are affected by the final budget results.
As observed during last week's discussion of holding night meetings, interest and attendance by the public will likely depend largely on the topics to be discussed.
We applaud the commission for this trial run of night meetings. But the need for evening sessions will only be demonstrated if county residents show up and contribute to the discussions -- a process the commission must incorporate into its meeting procedures.
The commission has taken a good first step. Now it's up to the public to respond.