Riverbank City Council members have unanimously voted to move their regular meetings from the second and fourth Mondays to the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, the vote coming at the Monday, Feb. 10 meeting. This change will take effect starting in April.
The idea to change the meetings from Monday to Tuesday first surfaced at a regular City Council meeting on Sept. 23; however due to scheduled commitments at that time, the change was not possible.
Council members still wanted to make it happen, however, and as part of the Riverbank City Council agenda new business at the recent meeting, the topic – as Item 6.3 – was on the agenda. The staff report regarding the proposed change listed the following information in the summary: a new year has begun and interest in changing the day of the regular City Council meetings continues to exist, in part due to a proposal to implement an alternative work schedule.
If the new schedule is adopted, the report continued, City Hall will be open longer hours Monday through Thursday and closed on alternating Fridays. As a result, City Hall would be closed on the Friday before City Council meetings during certain times of the year making it more challenging to address any questions that might arise between the distribution of the agenda, to the City Council and the public, on Thursday and the City Council Meeting on Monday evening.
To clarify, the agenda packet is posted and distributed on the Thursday prior to the Monday meeting. That day may change to Friday, if the Monday of that week was an observed holiday, which then shortens the period of availability for review. The report goes on to state: the period between the posting of the agenda and opening the scheduled meeting on Monday often impedes the ability of staff or Council Members to address issues that have developed, as well as, the ability to comprehensively consider agenda packet materials. Additionally, this period is not only the time to prepare for the City Council meeting, but it is also the time to attend to other commitments such as one’s day job during the week or family matters during the weekend. In addition, it is possible that a Tuesday evening meeting will make it easier for members of the public to attend City Council meetings.
With all those factors in mind, council members spoke in favor of changing the meeting days.
The City Council agreed to change the meeting day from Monday to Tuesday and this change will take effect in April to give the public the appropriate time to adjust to the change, said officials.
The background of the issue as listed on the agenda is that the City of Riverbank Municipal Code Section 30.01 pertaining to meetings states that all regular meetings shall be held at such times as the Council shall fix by resolution. The Code as written allows the flexibility for City Council to adjust its regular meeting schedule upon determining that a change of time and/or day of a regular meeting would be in the best interest of serving its citizens and the general public, in addition to, improving how the City’s business is conducted.
Throughout the years, City Council has changed the times of the meetings in their attempt to make it more convenient for the public to attend the scheduled meetings, as well as, increase public participation. No record was found that indicated the City Council has ever changed the day from Monday to another weekday since its inception.
The council recently also halted its quarterly noontime Monday meetings, which they had been holding to offer an alternative meeting time in hopes that more residents could attend. Council members decided to drop the daytime sessions after not having that much public participation.