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Charlotte Area

Council Abandons Scaled-Back Meeting Schedule

So much for the scaled-back meeting schedule Charlotte City Council members adopted at the start of this year. Monday they'll vote to return to their old ways – meeting every Monday. 

The main argument for changing the meeting schedule to just three Mondays a month, instead of four, was to let council members spend more time with family.  They've been starting two other meetings an hour earlier – at 4 p.m. – to make up the lost time.

But that's not cutting it, says Councilman Michael Barnes: "We aren't in contact with each other enough."

"We're not getting enough work done," adds Councilman Andy Dulin.

So Monday night the council will reinstate its informal workshops on the first Monday of each month to flesh out more complicated – or controversial - topics.

Barnes says the council could have used a workshop on the transit system's decision to put alcohol ads on buses and the recent change in accounting practices at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Would the old meeting schedule have helped the council pass a capital improvement plan this year?  Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon thinks maybe.

"I think, you know, we were sort of with our backs up against a wall to not be able to handle that business in a way that I think could have been much more efficient and effective where hopefully we could have shaken some things out," says Cannon.

The first-Monday workshop is coming back just as the council gears up to try again with the proposed tax increase for capital projects.

They're also reviving the open-ended citizens' forum to follow the workshop starting at 7:30 p.m.  Community activists complained when the forum was eliminated in February. Mayor Pro Tem Cannon says the council has missed that additional contact from citizens. 

See the proposed 2013 Charlotte City Council schedule here.