Commission votes to alter meeting times

PARKERSBURG -Members of the Wood County Commission voted 2-1 Thursday to alter their meeting schedule.

Under the new format the commission will meet Mondays from 9 a.m. until noon or until finished. Commissioners will also meet on the first Thursday of the month for planning and agenda items and on the third Thursdays for probate. The second and fourth Thursday will only be used if needed.

Newly elected President Wayne Dunn said the change will allow employees -such as county administrator Marty Seufer – to be more efficient and it will bring more structure to meetings.

“It works in other counties and it should work well here,” Dunn said.

Dunn and Steve Gainer voted in favor of the change. Blair Couch, calling himself a traditionalist, voted against it. Couch said he’d done some homework and the county commission had been meeting at least twice a week as far back as 1817.

“Changes should be made if government and the community benefits,” Dunn said.

“We waste a lot of time,” Gainer added.

Dunn noted the commission wasn’t doing away with Thursday meetings .

“We are not doing anything new,” he said. “We are just making it prudent under changing conditions.”

“We are not removing Thursdays. They’ll be used as needed. If needed.”

Dunn said there is nothing that prevents the commission from changing meetings times down the road, noting the times are “traditionally” set at the first meeting of the year.

Dunn said the changes will allow commissioners an extra meeting a month for planning. The change could effectively reduce the number of commission meetings by two dozen.

Commissioners also got into a discussion of their agenda and their availability to public.

All agreed the commission should be open and available to the public. Gainer said commissioners – in addition to meetings – are always available.

“Too much has been made of extended hours so people can walk in and see us,” he said.

No members of the public attended Thursday’s meeting.

Dunn and Gainer argued the commission and employees who are required to attend the meetings have a lot unfilled time. Both noted many other counties in the state meet much less often. Though Couch claims those county commissions do so under a different structure that gives more leeway to the county administrator and other officials to handle business that is the responsibility of Wood County Commission.