HAMMOND | The City Council has rolled back its meeting time by two hours.
The Hammond council will now convene at 6 p.m., instead of 8 p.m., on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. The measure passed 8-1, with Councilman At-large Robert Markovich casting the only dissenting vote.
Markovich said the change would conflict with his job and asked the council to show courtesy and not change the time.
Councilwoman At-large Janet Venecz proposed the time change, saying a resident requested it, because meetings sometimes run late and people have to get up early the next day for work.
Markovich said he has been on the council 24 years and council meetings have always started at 8 p.m. during his tenure. He said 6 p.m. is too early.
"I feel that it's a way of disenfranchising the public," he said.
Markovich suggested a 7 p.m. start, as a compromise. He said he was elected to represent the residents, and the time change is a way to silence him.
Venecz said she also was elected to serve the people, and it was at a resident's urging that she proposed the time change.
Third District Councilman Anthony Higgs said he didn't see the time change as a way to silence Markovich. He said the council is trying to set a reasonable time to carry out the city's business and conclude at a reasonable time.
Markovich said some of the council members show up late to the committee meetings that precede the regular council meetings anyway.
A show of hands from the audience yielded the most support for a 6 p.m. meeting time.
Sixth District Councilman Homero "Chico" Hinojosa proposed a 6:30 p.m. start time, but the motion failed. Second District Councilman Al Salinas proposed a 5:30 p.m. start time, but it failed for lack of a second.