The Highland County Board of Commissioners voted to adopt a new bi-weekly meeting schedule of Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. during Monday’s organizational meeting, the board’s first meeting of the new year.
The change to a bi-weekly schedule with a later start time was proposed by Commissioner Gary Abernathy.
“I think giving people a second option to come and meet with us would be beneficial to both the public and department heads,” Abernathy said. “It would also help us to carry out official business in open session more often than just one day a week.”
He said that any Monday meeting that fell on a holiday would be cancelled and not rescheduled, and that the additional meeting time would be used as a work session, but could also be used for the discussion of business matters that up till now have been restricted to Wednesday.
Several commissioners in surrounding counties meet bi-weekly as well, Abernathy said, with the result being better communication for the communities they serve and added flexibility in executing the business of the county.
Fellow commissioner Terry Britton expressed some initial concern that if the bi-weekly schedule were adopted and found to be not needed in the coming months, could they then legally return to the original once a week schedule.
Legal advice came from two separate sources, Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins and Columbus attorney Rick Hoffman, a legal consultant who has contracted with Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley on previous legal questions.
Both indicated in conference calls during the meeting that any changes relating to the meeting schedule could be modified at any time in the future upon public notice by bulletin board posting and notifying the news media.
Both recommended that commissioners proceed with the bi-weekly schedule, and if in the coming months they decide that the additional day isn’t necessary, to then formally cancel it by resolution.
Under the Ohio Revised Code, county commissioners are required to have at least 50 meetings in a calendar year.
In other matters from Monday’s organizational meeting, Jeff Duncan accepted re-appointment as the chairman of the board of commissioners and Britton consented to continue in his position as vice-chairman.
Eight other resolutions were adopted Monday to help guide the three-man panel in terms of policy and business protocol for the upcoming year.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.