A request by Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard to start City Council meetings earlier was partially turned down this week.
Ezard asked aldermen if they’d consider moving workshop sessions to 5:30, an hour earlier than they currently begin. Alderwoman Marcy Patterson spoke up against the idea, getting agreement from fellow council members Bill Scott and Travis Richardson.
Alderman Tony Williams chimed in by saying he’s retired, so he didn’t have a “dog in the fight”. For the aldermen opposed, the main concern appeared to be scheduling conflicts.
Patterson suggested the meetings could be pushed back to 6:00, instead. Ezard says that’s a good compromise, and that the city will try that time out for the next few meetings. He says if it needs to be changed back, so be it.
“If we wanted to keep the 6:30, I’m more than happy to. A lot of times, we will go late into the night, or at least 8:00, 8:30. I’ve always been of the mindset where, you go home and eat dinner, then you wait around for the meeting. My theory was, on starting early, we can just go ahead and get the meetings over with, and go home,” Ezard says.
“It’s certainly not there to deter people from coming to meetings by starting it a half hour earlier. That’s not the intention. It’s just getting home a little bit earlier in the day.”
Ezard notes Jacksonville is somewhat unique, given that many municipalities in Illinois don’t even hold workshops before meetings.
“The times have fluctuated over the years previous to me. I know under Mayor [Ron] Tendick and even back as far as Mayor [Milt] Hocking and Mayor [Helen] Foreman that they may have even started later than 6:00, 6:30 and 7:00,” he says.