City council to consider meeting schedule changes

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
City council to consider meeting schedule changes

Pawhuska City Council is considering cutting its monthly meeting schedule in half, as well as switching the regular meeting day from Monday to Tuesday.

During a regularly-scheduled gathering Monday, City Attorney Robert Wilson said once-a-month meeting of the council have been under consideration for years.

“I just don’t know why it has not already been done,” said Wilson, explaining that special meetings could be called for emergency situations that might arise between the proposed monthly sessions.

The city attorney reminded council members that most of their recent meetings had been concluded within 20 to 30 minutes.

“If it hadn’t been for talking about the (former) city manager and (former) city attorney, you’d have been out of here,” Wilson said, referring to the series of meetings last summer which resulted in the resignations of both those officials following a drunk-driving incident in July.

Overflow crowds — which included representatives from Tulsa TV channels — packed the council chambers as the council considered its response amid a considerable amount of public outcry.

“I certainly hope we don’t do that again,” added Wilson, who returned as city attorney — a post he had previously held for years.

Wilson told the council members he would prepare a revised ordinance for their consideration at an upcoming special session. Currently, the local city council holds regular meetings beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month.

In addition to possibly changing its meeting schedule to a one session each month, the council is expected to also hold discussions about moving its normal meetings from Mondays. Tuesday was mentioned as an alternative day for the council sessions — although a Thursday meeting was suggested for the discussion session.

City Manager Mike McCartney encouraged the council and public to “remain open-minded” about schedule changes. At one point, the city attorney mentioned that someone under consideration for an appointment to the council “cannot meet on the first and third Mondays.”

In the course of the preliminary discussions about the meeting-time issues, it was revealed that Councilman Travis Finley intends to step down from the Pawhuska Ward 4 City Council position he has held for the past nine years. Finley later said that would probably occur “in the next two or three months.” The Rev. Finley, who also serves as chaplain of the council, drew no opposition upon filing for re-election late last year. His new term is due to begin in May.