Fredonia’s trustees alter format of meetings

Meeting times for the Fredonia Village Board of Trustees has been changed.

The board recently voted unanimously to include its workshops within the regular meeting agendas. The workshops had been scheduled separately, to begin one hour before the meeting, even though the workshops do not always run an hour long.

“I have to say most of the employees that have come forward supported and suggested that, and I support it for the same reason,” Mayor Athanasia Landis said. “Most of these people work since 7:30 in the morning. … If we can do it so they can go back to their houses, their homes and their families a little earlier, without stopping the public, obviously, from coming and commenting and being part of this, I think it would be a good idea.”

Trustee Douglas Essek responded, motioning to village employees in the audience: “Attending board meetings is part of your job so you are getting paid for this. You are salaried, and you may work 40 hours, you may work 80 hours.”

Trustee Roger Britz said he thought the current regular meeting time of 6:30 p.m. — moved up to 6 p.m. for this summer — is too early because it doesn’t give people enough time after work. The time should be pushed back “to allow people to go home, have dinner, relax a few minutes, then be able to attend the meeting,” he said.

“I’d like it to be 6 o’clock year-round,” Trustee Kara Christina said. Regarding the old format, she said “there have been several times where we have sat here for 45 minutes, kind of just waiting.”

“On the occasions where we have only 15 minutes worth of workshop, it’s ridiculous to sit around here for 45 minutes and do nothing,” said Village Treasurer Jim Sedota. Village Attorney Dan Gard said the state Open Meetings Law does not differentiate between workshops and regular meetings.

In the end, the board decided to retain the workshop start time of 6:30 pm., and 6 p.m. in July and August, for the new start time of the altered regular meetings. The meetings will now begin with the workshop and the rest of the board’s business will immediately follow.