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A break with tradition? Official might end some mid-meeting breaks

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 11:21 a.m. CDT

DIXON - Old traditions die hard, but they can be revised.

At Tuesday's Lee County Board meeting, the biggest debate was over when members should have 15-minute doughnut breaks.

For years, the board has taken coffee-and-doughnut breaks at some point during their meetings, rare for a local public body. Sometimes they hold breaks 45 minutes into their meetings.

A few months ago, the county added apples and bananas after a member said he wanted healthful selections.

At Tuesday's meeting, the board had a 15-minute break, even though the entire meeting lasted a little more than an hour.

When members returned from their break, Wes Morrissey, D-Amboy, one of board's younger members, suggested holding the break an hour and a half after a meeting begins. And if it ends sooner than that, he said, members can have coffee afterward.

"If people want to sit around and have coffee, they can. Those who want to leave can," he said.

Others said the board should give the chairman the authority to set break times.

After some bickering, member Greg Witzleb, R-Dixon, chided his colleagues.

"We're acting like Congress now."

Members decided against voting on Morrissey's proposal.

Afterward, Chairman Rick Ketchum, D-Amboy, said he would no longer hold breaks during shorter meetings such as Tuesday's.

"Every meeting, I hear a lot about this [issue]," he said. "So I said, 'Put it up for a vote.' Then they withdrew it."

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