The Edmonds City Council in April decided to return to a committee meeting structure on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. That format will go into place next Tuesday, May 9, so in preparation City Council President Tom Mesaros Tuesday night announced the committee chairs and where the committees will be meeting.
There was also a lengthy discussion about whether the council should be allowed to conduct regular council business if needed prior to the committee meetings on those days. That is how the ordinance, approved at the April 18 meeting, reads but there were concerns that always having a council meeting scheduled might unnecessarily tie up staff time and could also result in a longer evening because committee meetings would get started later.
In the end, the council agreed to let the ordinance stand as is with the idea that changes could be made later if necessary.
Some councilmembers also raised the issue of transparency with the public, since none of the meetings will be videotaped. Under the current system, council meeting nights have alternated between work sessions and business meetings, with every meeting taking place in the council chambers, where it is live streamed and also recorded for later viewing. Public comments were also allowed at each meeting.
Now, committee meetings will be divided among three different rooms in the Public Safety Complex. As a result, citizens will need to review agendas ahead of time and then decide which meeting they want to attend. Minutes will be taken and there will be audio recordings made for record-keeping, but City Clerk Scott Passey said Tuesday night he wasn’t sure if those recordings could be posted to the city website.
Under the new committee structure, there will be no public comment period allowed. The purpose, some councilmembers have said, is to give them more time to discuss topics in detail with city staff — something they don’t believe is possible during regular council meetings.
Here are the committee locations — all in the Public Safety Complex — and the councilmember assignments for each:
Finance will meet in the council chambers. It will be chaired by Councilmember Diane Buckshnis and will also include Councilmember Dave Teitzel. This committee oversees city revenues and expenditures.
Parks, Planning, and Public Works will meet in the jury meeting room. It will be chaired by Councilmember Neil Tibbott, with Councilmember Kristiana Johnson joining him. It is tasked with open space conservation and access to recreational facilities and opportunities,
Public Safety and Personnel will meet in the police training room. Councilmember Mike Nelson will chair this committee, joined by Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas. It oversees adequate delivery of police and fire protection to the city.
Also during Tuesday night’s meeting, the council heard a presentation on Puget Sound Starts Here Month and on the city’s upcoming Memorial Day observance, set for 11 a.m. Monday, May 29 at the Edmonds Cemetery. It was also announced that a 2 p.m. dedication ceremony is planned that day for the new Edmonds Veterans Plaza, being built outside the Public Safety Complex.
— By Teresa Wippel