County sticking with weekly meetingsCutting the number of county commission meetings from four to two Tuesdays a month isn’t something that’s high, or even on, Davison County’s list of priorities, the commissioners said recently. That means Davison County will remain the only county in The Daily Republic’s 17-county readership area that meets on a weekly basis. Other counties meet once or twice a month.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Cutting the number of county commission meetings from four to two Tuesdays a month isn’t something that’s high, or even on, Davison County’s list of priorities, the commissioners said recently.
That means Davison County will remain the only county in The Daily Republic’s 17-county readership area that meets on a weekly basis. Other counties meet once or twice a month.
“There’s more than enough work to do,” said Chairman John Claggett, who believes the commissioners can spend more meeting time on “long-range thinking and trying to find out where the dollars will come from in the future.”
Eleven of the area’s county boards meet the first and third Tuesday of each month, including: Aurora, Brule, Bon Homme, Douglas, Gregory, Hanson, Hutchinson, Lyman, McCook, Miner and Sanborn counties. Charles Mix commissioners meet the first and second Tuesdays of the month; Tripp County commissioners meet three times a month on the first, second and fourth Tuesdays: and the commissioners of Buffalo, Jerauld and Jones counties meet the first Tuesday of every month.
Of South Dakota counties with Class 1 cities — cities having more than 5,000 residents — only Beadle (Huron), Brown (Aberdeen), Codington (Watertown) and Minnehaha (Sioux Falls) counties meet on a weekly basis. Meade, Hughes, Pennington and Yankton commissioners meet twice a month.
Brookings County is cutting its meeting frequency in half. County commissioner Alan Gregg said his county board’s meetings were cut to twice a month to reduce the inconvenience to county staff, while a joint city-county administration center is being constructed near the historic Brookings courthouse.
In the interim, the commissioners will meet at the Swiftel Center, about 27 blocks east of the courthouse. The county will break ground this spring for the new building, he said.
Chairman Dennis Falken said in an Associated Press article that the change will free up some time for county staff members who are required to attend meetings, and it will give the commission more time to prepare an agenda, though the agendas will be longer than usual.
“I’d heard that they tried it once before,” Gregg said, “but the schedule didn’t work with the accounting system that was being used at the time.”
Gregg said the upcoming construction project gave the commissioners a good excuse to try a twice-a-month plan, and it will be a simple matter to return to a weekly schedule if the change does not work out.
While Davison commissioners don’t see any reason to change the number of meetings, Claggett believes the board should take a second look at when they hold meetings.
Focus 2020 planners were dismissed by former Commission Chairman Jerry Fischer about two years ago when they suggested changing the meeting times to encourage more attendance at meetings.
“I think the meeting times and meeting places need to be revisited,” Claggett said.
“In the recent election, four of us ran for re-election, and only one of us had competition from a challenging candidate.”
Holding some evening meetings might allow more interested citizens to participate. Currently, the meetings begin in the morning and sometimes run into the afternoon.
“I think we need to be thinking about that and to see if there might not be a better way to do it,” he said.
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