The Chapel Hill Town Council currently holds meetings on Mondays and work sessions on Wednesdays.
According to an email from Council member Ed Harrison, that’s the way it’s been for over thirty years. Former Councilman Gerry Cohen tweeted after seeing this story that he could validate the meetings had been held on Mondays for at least 45 years.
But the council is now considering changing those days, and moving meetings to Wednesdays. Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said it could make the schedule smoother overall.
“There are a lot of Monday holidays that throw off our schedule,” she said. “That’s one statement. The other is the staff does their hardest to get our agendas out on Wednesdays. But the council members get it and they’re supposed to try and ask questions ahead of time for the public, and those questions will come in on Fridays before the Monday meeting.”
She said when council members ask questions at the end of the day on a Friday, staff often have to work on weekends to make sure those questions will be answered before Monday’s meeting, which isn’t fair.
“In this scenario, the packets would go out on Friday,” Hemminger said. “Council members and public would have the weekend to digest stuff and then send their questions in on Monday and have plenty of time to get them answered by Wednesday.”
Hemminger said if the council does choose to move the meeting day, it shouldn’t be a problem since they already conduct work sessions on Wednesdays.
But, members haven’t made a decision yet.
“We’re taking a look to see if it’s an option,” she said. “We’re seeing what that would mean: we already know we’d have to move some other boards that normally meet on Wednesdays would then have to move to probably Mondays and we don’t know what other community things are going on.”
In Council emails, George Cianciolo said he would “definitely be in favor of such a move.” But Maria Palmer said Wednesday meetings would conflict with church services and choir practices, and suggested consulting local churches before deciding.
Hemminger said she encourages all community members to give the council input on whether this would be a positive change.
“We’re just reaching out to ask if people have input they want to give, please send it to us,” she said. “Email, call, whatever, we’re happy to receive input as we consider this opportunity.”
The council will decide in June as members finalize the calendar for the next year.