At their meeting on June 16, the Leon County Commissioners voted to change their meeting schedule to one regular meeting per month. Previously, they scheduled regular meetings the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
The Commissioners voted to schedule one regular meeting the second Tuesday of the month at 3:00 p.m., allocated workshops to the second and/or fourth Tuesday of the month at 1:00 p.m., and reserved public hearings for the fourth Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.
The motion, which was made by Commissioner Bill Proctor, passed five to two. Commissioners Kristin Dozier and Rick Minor dissented.
Dozier and Minor both noted that the Commission meetings are the only time that the Commissioners can legally communicate and make decisions.
Minor commented, “I’m inclined to keep things the same as they are, meeting twice a month, and here’s the reason why. Certainly, meeting once a month would be easier for us. It would be easier for County staff. I think it would be harder for citizens to reach out to us and provide input to us on things that are important to them.”
Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley, who supported the motion, said most of the Commission’s important discussion take place during public hearings, not regular meetings. She also noted that new technology allows the Commissioners to receive input from citizens.
Commissioner Bryan Desloge also supported the motion and said, “My office is open all the time. I talk to people all the time. I think coming to a meeting and addressing us there really is not the primary way people get in touch with us.”
According to the meeting agenda, only five of Florida’s 67 counties hold one meeting per month. The majority, 54, hold two meetings per month. The staff analysis shows that all counties similar in size to Leon County, including Alachua County and St. Johns County, hold at least two meetings per month.
Additionally, the Tallahassee City Commission and the Leon County School Board both meet twice per month.
Former Tallahassee City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey, who served for over 20 years, blasted the schedule change on Facebook.
“Having fewer meetings likely means less elected official involvement and certainly means less opportunity for citizen awareness or input,” Lightsey wrote. “One meeting a month will necessitate one agenda book with thousands of pages…a deterrent to well-informed officials and citizens. In my view, elected officials in both the City and County government have already ceded way too much authority to Management and Staff. This will further exacerbate this problem.”
“So many of us are not ok with what is happening now—and certainly don’t approve having fewer opportunities to speak and hear other citizens speak,” she said.
I thought the email I received from a county commissioner was humor. It was about a meeting to determine the next meeting about how many meetings they are going to have. Next, a Harvard based research project was done to determine if less meeting would have a fiscal impact on meetings. Kind of reminds me of the signs around the county, ” Slow men working” and “slow children playing” Sometimes I think we are just a little bit slow. I think we should schedule a “slow meeting” and determine its fiscal impact on future meetings regarding how many meetings we should have.
“Dozier and Minor both noted that the Commission meetings are the only time that the Commissioners can legally communicate and make decisions.”
Then maybe the meetings should be 4 Times a Week so you can communicate more, not less. Progress, Growth and even Problems, happen 24/7 so wouldn’t adding a Meeting or two per month be in the best interest of the County so you can stay on top of the situations as they happen and not a month later?
Indeed, the commission meetings are the only times they are “legally” permitted to communicate with each other on issues that are before – or may come before – the commission. But make no mistake about it; they are (illegally) communicating with each other far more than that. Usually via surreptitious email accounts created using pseudonyms. The Administrator also acts as an intermediary when he/she meets one-on-one with each commissioner. During these one-on-ones, it is illegal for he or she to intimate how the other commissioners are leaning on a given issue, but they have their ways. How else do you explain such a high percentage of unanimous consensus, with such a minimal amount of public discussion.
It’s called “Government out of the Sunshine”
The less the citizens know, the better the odds of pulling it off. Apathy by Design
You cannot lead from a fetal position! Defund the commission now!
This could be the end for all incumbents even the 2 no votes will be guilty by association.
But…and there is always a BIG BUTT in life…right?
The end for everyone except for one.
Well which one is that Snidely?
The instigator and the man behind the entire 1 meeting per month seed idea.
Thats right folks the politician with the longest held political office in the entire history of Leon County…..Bill Proctor!!!!
Be jealous everybody because Bill’s constituents will continue to elect him again and again.
And best of all Bill just got rid of the rest of you slackers by getting you to voluntarly commit political suicide by admitting with your vote and association that you are all no good lazy SOB’s.
Goodbye slackers Bill never liked you!!!
Will we be seeing a property tax refund for the services we paid for but couldn’t use like schools and parks and occasionally our roads?
They should be forced to continue to attend the meetings we are paying for.
And if they miss them, I propose they be FINED.
$50 for the first miss, $100 for the second offense, and $500 for the third, with a Notice to Appear.
Sorry, I needed to add…Commissioners have authored a decision (mask mandate) which has damaged local businesses (not all, but many) and will impact the local economy of thousands and they decide to cut their meetings (thus reduce the work load of staff) in half while keeping their sizeable part-time checks of $72K annually coming? Regardless of what anyone thinks of the mask ordinance – this is a tone-deaf, selfish decision.
Half the pay?
Anything to increase the darkness, I guess.
Amazing that Commissioner Desloge says he talks to people all the time. I have emailed him several times and have never received a reply.
I am all for a Minimum of at least 2 Meetings a Month. With only one Meeting a Month, it seems like that one Meeting will be rushed because you will have a lot more to cover in a short time. Don’t make this change permanent, make it where it at least changes back when you all can have your Meeting all together in the Courthouse.