Sandwich Mayor Todd Latham joked that he would schedule city council committee meetings at five o’clock on Saturday mornings after the council rejected his ordinance earlier this week calling for the council to hold its regular meetings on the first and third Mondays of each month rather than the current second and fourth Mondays of the month as set forth in the city’s code.
The council rejected the ordinance in a 5-3 vote during their regular meeting July 12.
As a result of the vote, the council will continue to hold its regular meetings on the second and fourth Monday of each month and its committee of the whole meetings on the first and third Monday of each month. Had the measure been approved, the council would have held its committee of the whole meetings immediately after their regular meetings on the first and third Monday of each month.
Casting the three favorable votes on the motion to approve the ordinance were Aldermen Fred Kreinbrink, Bill Fritsch and Rebecca Johnson. Latham appointed Fritsch to the council in May.
“I’ve gone back and forth on this and one of the biggest benefits that we see is we might actually get an agenda completed before Friday,” Johnson said. “Because I’m new, one side of me wants to keep it (as is) so that I understand more, but on the other side I have no expectations and I do believe we have to have more structure with our committees considering (the) OMA (Open Meetings Act).”
Kreinbrink acknowledged that change can sometimes be difficult, but change can also be good.
“The way it has been laid out by the mayor, we’ll have a meeting and then have a follow-up meeting and that gap which will allow staff to prepare some documents and I think that would be beneficial to (Director of Public Works/City Engineer) Tom (Horak) and (Police) Chief (Jim Bianchi) and that sort of thing,” he said. “And another side of this, like the mayor said, we could try it and see how it goes.”
Aldermen Cara Kiley, Brent Holcomb, Bill Littlebrandt, Rich Robinson and Rick Whitecotton voted against the ordinance. Holcomb, Littlebrandt and Whitecotton all arrived to the council via appointments from Robinson when he served as mayor.
“I think it’s a lot better the way it is now,” Whitecotton said. “You get that interaction with each other and the community and it works out much better for me.”
Whitecotton explained that the addition of committees is already providing a change in how the council will operate under Latham’s leadership.’’