Summit County Council meetings will be held earlier in the day.
Council members voted 8-3 Monday to move up their meetings by a half-hour to 4:30 p.m. for regular council meetings. They will also meet at 4:30 every other Monday for committee meetings.
The legislation to change the start time was introduced by Councilman Frank Comunale, who represents District 4.
Comunale said he wanted some consistency with the same meeting time each week whether it’s a committee meeting or regular council meeting so that those who work for the county, who mostly attend the meetings to offer input on items on the agenda for their departments, won’t have to stay much later than their regular work schedule.
John Schmidt of District 2 said the earlier time will also save the county money.
“It is a good cost-saving measure because the county has to pay county employees to stay for the meetings,” he said.
Councilman-at-large Bill Roemer voted against changing the meeting time.
“It has two disadvantages,” he said. “One, it decreases participation of constituents to attend the meeting who may not be able to get here earlier. And it limits qualified people to serve on council, because they may not have the type of job that will allow them to leave their job early.”
“In a democratic society, serving in government is not an impairment and starting the meeting time earlier does not distract getting good people to serve,” he said. “It will not discourage good people from running.”
County Councilwoman-at-large Sandra Kurt said she is one of those 9-to-5ers, but she worked out a deal with her job and uses flex time to attend the meetings.
A survey of council meeting start times in Ohio’s 88 counties was introduced by Council President Jerry Feeman. The survey showed that 60 of the County Council meetings start at 9:30 a.m. or earlier. Six of those surveyed start in the afternoon.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.