BOCC considers daytime meeting

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By Alice Du Pont

Beginning in June, Gadsden County commissioners will meet during the day for the first time in many years. Commissioners voted Tuesday night, during the regular meeting, to convene on the first Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. The third Tuesday meetings will begin at 9 a.m.

"A day meeting will give citizens more time for input. Department heads will be able to spend more time with their families at night," said Eugene Lamb, commission chairman, when making the recommendation.

Commissioner Brenda Holt said she could not agree with the time change. She said if need be, commissioners could always add the third Tuesday of the month for a meeting.

"We only work 2 days a month. We get paid $1,500 per meeting. We don’t have that much business," Holt said.

Other commissioners disagreed with Holt's assessment of the amount of time they put on the job.

"I don't work 2 days a month, I work every day for the citizens of this county. The change will open up the meetings to more citizens. It will help people who work shift work and older people who can't drive at night," said Commissioner Gene Morgan.

Commissioner Doug Croley also took exception to Holt's view of commissioners' work schedule.

"My job is 24/7. I was at two public events Saturday and when my phone rings in the middle of the night, it's from citizens,” he said.

He agreed with Lamb and supported the change.

"This is nothing new, strange or out of the ordinary. Many counties hold day meetings. The meeting in this county used to be held at night," Croley said.

Commissioners agreed to take a wait-and-see attitude and will use May meetings to assess public opinion.

"If it doesn't work and the people don't want it, we can always readjust," Croley said.