DIXON – The Lee County Board will continue to meet during the day.
The board on Tuesday voted 12-10, with two members absent, to approve the meeting schedule for next year with all day meetings. Tom Kitson, R-Dixon, and Arlan McClain, R-Dixon, were absent.
Wes Morrisey, D-Amboy, was the first to raise a concern that the day meetings, which start at 9 a.m., don’t afford residents an opportunity to either run for office or to attend the meetings.
“I know there’s pros and cons to when we have our meetings,” Morrisey said. “I don’t think it’s a transparency issue. I think everyone here shows up and represents the county to the best of their ability. The only problem is, when we have daytime meetings exclusively, we eliminate a group of people who could run for this body of governing.”
That group is working-class people with families, which make up a large part of the constituency, Morrisey said, adding that only the retired, the self-employed or people with flexible schedules could run for office.
Allyn Buhrow, R-Ashton, suggested that the board meetings be moved to night and the committee meetings be kept during the day.
The board has tried the split schedule in previous years, said Marilyn Shippert, R-Dixon, but it didn’t increase public attendance at the meetings, and the day meetings allow more time for discussion.
“With the evening meetings, we race through them in half an hour,” she said. “So did we really do our due diligence as a board racing through a meeting?”
Voting against the day meetings were Morrisey; Buhrow; Ryan Marshall, R-Dixon; John Nicholson, R-Franklin Grove; James Wentling, R-Dixon; Greg Witzleb, R-Dixon; Bernie Buckley, R-Dixon; Kasey Considine, D-Amboy; Vern Gottel, R-rural Sterling; and Rick Ketchum, D-Amboy.
The Lee County Board next meets at 9 a.m. Dec. 17 on the third floor of the Old Lee County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St. in Dixon.
Go to www.LeeCountyIL.com or call 815-288-5676 for an agenda or more information.