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Council changes meeting schedule

City leadership will have formal meetings once each month


The Sandy City Council is attempting to become more efficient, while at the same time making the council more accessible to a larger group of its constituents.

The adjustment involves changing the schedule of its meetings. Formal meetings that allow votes on ordinances, resolutions or other issues facing the city will occur only on the first Monday of each month.

The third Monday of each month will be reserved for informal workshops, sitting around a table talking in more detail about issues coming to one or more of the city’s formal meetings. The meeting also could be a time to bring in someone from outside the city of Sandy with the expertise to help the council answer its questions and reach an informed decision.

The informal, third-Monday meeting is easier for people to talk and be heard, said City Manager Scott Lazenby.

Instead, the informal workshop sessions will not be broadcast or video-recorded. They will be audio-recorded, Lazenby said, only for the purpose of writing minutes.

“(Taking citizen comments informally) is an advantage,” Lazenby said, “because it’s so formal to stand at the podium (in a formal session). Some people get nervous doing that. The council thought this change would be more inviting.”

In the interest of efficiency and giving each topic the time it deserves, the council decided it needed to extend the time it devotes to workshops.

“We’ve had workshop sessions in the past,” he said, “but they happen (in about 50 minutes) while the councilors and staff are eating dinner, and they tend to be a little rushed.”

It also is difficult to set up a room for a comfortable round-table discussion and then in such a short time convert it into a council chamber for a formal, video-recorded meeting.

The city charter, Lazenby said, only requires one meeting a month, and he and the council believe they can cover the city’s business by having some of the detailed, background discussion at workshops and focus on the important impacts of each decision and the voting at each first-Monday meeting.

Comments from citizens will be on the agenda of each meeting, whether formal or informal workshop, giving local residents the same access to the council they have had in previous months and years.

But Lazenby also mentioned that local residents have other ways of communicating with any of their councilors such as email and telephone.

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