Seeking to increase the likelihood of Parks and Recreation Board members being able to attend monthly meetings, the board signed off on a bylaw change that allows the board to choose what day and time meetings will be held.

Board President Brian Johnson opened the discussion at the recent July meeting, suggesting the board change its regularly scheduled 4 p.m. Thursday meeting time due to the difficulty of each member being able to attend when most of them are working at their regular jobs.

“I think meeting on Thursday’s at 4 p.m. should be reconsidered, because nobody is typically off work at 4 p.m. Unless you’re the boss of your job, I suggest we meet at 7 p.m.,” Johnson said. “Thursday is also toward the end of the week when people are sometimes leaving town for a weekend getaway.”

“I question the 7 p.m. time, because I think we would have the same problem of risking more people not being able to meet. I’m not disagreeing 4 p.m. is too early, but 7 p.m. is just too late,” Barington said.

In an attempt to make a compromise with the proposed time slots, Barington referenced the Mitchell City Council’s decision to adjust the bi-weekly meetings to take place at 6 p.m.

“We purposefully moved the meetings to 6 p.m. because we were at 7:30 p.m. before the change, and now we usually have a pretty solid crowd,” Barington said of the 6 p.m. Monday City Council meetings.

While the board members deliberated what day and time worked best for the board as a whole, City Attorney Justin Johnson presented another option, which allows the board to set the date and time it wants to meet at the end of each meeting.

“You don’t have to set a specific time in the bylaw… You can set that for a certain number of meetings or change it as you see fit,” Johnson said to the board. “As long as you’re scheduling the meeting far enough in advance to meet the public notice requirements. There is nothing that requires you guys to meet at a specific time other than when you choose to have the meeting.”

Considering the information Johnson provided, he suggested the board not select a specific time in the bylaw, adding it would allow for more flexibility in scheduling the monthly board meetings.

In addition, Board President Johnson pitched the idea of changing the format of the meetings to allow for public input.

Johnson stressed the importance for the board to include a public input session, which he said is another reason to push the meeting time back a bit in order for community members to express any concerns or items.

“Pretty much every other city board or entity has a public input portion, and it would allow us to take citizens’ concerns or suggestions into consideration,” Johnson said.

Upon further discussion, Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell clarified the approved bylaw change would allow the board to determine the date and time of the upcoming meeting.

"With the bylaw change, at the end of our meetings, we will now be able to set a date and time for the following upcoming meeting," Powell said. "I agree with you all that this will help accommodate everyone's schedules better."