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Jefferson County officials consider night meetings

January 17, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN - Jefferson County Commissioners would like to see more residents at the county meetings and may hold one meeting a month at night so commuters can attend.

County Commissioner James K. Ruland raised the issue of holding the meetings at night at Thursday's meeting. Ruland said there is a perception among some that the county commissioners' meetings are not accessible.

County Commissioner R. Gregory Lance said that he could see holding once a month one the of the county meetings at night.

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The county commissioners currently meetings on Thursday mornings.

Commissioners said the issue arises about every two years to make the meetings more accessible.

Lance said that the county commissioners have met at night in the past. The meetings drew a few people at first, but they stopped attending after two or three meetings, he said.

One man attended the last night meeting and the commissioners spent 20 minutes talking to him about various issues, Lance said.

Lance said only one person has regularly attended the county commissioner meetings in the 10 years he's held office.

Commissioners said any future night meetings should have a regular agenda of items to go over in addition to setting aside time for residents.

Before commissioners change the schedule, they said they want to discuss it with other elected officials who normally meet with county commissioners during the day.

Elsewhere in nearby counties, the Berkeley County Commissioners also meet on Thursday mornings. The meetings are usually well attended, said Marsha Kelley, purchasing director.

"We've experimented with different times and it just seems like they got a better response by holding it in the mornings," she said.

Washington County, Md., commissioners meet on Tuesday mornings, but once a month they hold a night meet out in the county at town halls, fire halls and Ruritan clubs, varying the location to make it as accessible as possible.

Some of the night meetings will draw about 20 members of the community, but others are sparsely attended, a Washington County official said.

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