Lansing officials considering additional meetings

2014-02-17T18:03:00Z 2014-02-17T20:50:10Z Lansing officials considering additional meetingsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 17, 2014 6:03 pm  • 

LANSING | Municipal officials will be asked to decide Tuesday whether the Village Board ought to have the option of holding Committee of the Whole meetings that would allow them a chance to more thoroughly discuss issues.

Among the items included on the agenda for the board meeting to be held at the municipal complex at 2710 170th St., include a measure allowing the village president or trustees to call a Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss special issues.

Prior to 2012, the Village Board held Committee of the Whole sessions on the second Tuesday of each month; with full-fledged Village Board meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

But that changed shortly after J. Wynsma became the village administrator, and the Committee of the Whole sessions were dropped. At the time, Wynsma said the new meeting schedule was a more efficient use of the Village Board’s time.

But at a Village Board meeting last month, Trustee Tony DeLaurentis argued for bringing back the meetings to give trustees a chance to engage in debate about issues before any kind of binding vote was taken.

At a Committee of the Whole session, trustees can discuss an issue. But no vote can be taken.

Village Attorney Timothy Lapp emphasized that the proposed change would not restore a monthly Committee of the Whole session. "It gives them the option to hold such a meeting, if they think it is necessary," he said.

As far as when such meetings would be held, village President Norm Abbott said he would rather have them scheduled on the same day, and immediately following, board meetings.

Wynsma was unavailable Monday for comment on the change. But several trustees expressed support for DeLaurentis’ proposed change when he brought it up in January.

In fact, DeLaurentis, supported by Trustee Mike Manno, tried to get other trustees to approve the change, only to be stopped by Lapp, who informed him that the issue could not immediately be enacted without some sort of legal review.

Lapp crafted the ordinance change that trustees will be asked to vote on Tuesday night.

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