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County commissioners forgo morning meetings

Citizens take in an evening meeting of the Board of Kitsap County Commissioners. Monday, the commissioners compromised with the public to keep evening meeting times.  - Kristin Okinaka
Citizens take in an evening meeting of the Board of Kitsap County Commissioners. Monday, the commissioners compromised with the public to keep evening meeting times.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka

Kitsap County Commissioners have acted in compromise regarding the time they will do the public’s business in public.

The Board of County Commissioners originally sought to move the regular business meetings from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. Mondays. After many people argued against having a morning meeting time at a public hearing in mid-February and additional written testimony that commissioners said they received opposing it, they decided against moving the meeting to Monday mornings.

The meeting time will be pushed forward, but not into business hours.

Beginning March 26, the meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting scheduled for March 12 will remain at 7 p.m.

Myrtle Cooper, who attended Monday’s meeting with her husband, said although they are retired and can make meetings at any time of the day, she was glad the commissioners didn’t change it to the mornings. A morning time would make it difficult for those who are working to attend, she said.

“I think 5:30 will be better. It’s a good compromise,” Cooper said.

Commissioners unanimously approved Monday of moving the regular business meetings, which are held every second and fourth Monday of the month in the commissioners’ chambers at the Port Orchard administrative building, to begin at 5:30 p.m. rather than 7 p.m.

Commissioner Charlotte Garrido was absent but Commissioner Rob Gelder said she was in support of the new meeting start time as well.

“We’re still committed to being as available as possible,” Gelder said.

Although regular business cannot be conducted outside the county seat, Gelder said that there is still the option to have special meetings at other venues. It would be more convenient for some residents to attend so they do not have to drive a long way to Port Orchard, especially if the topic of discussion pertained to a specific part of the county, he said.

The regular business meetings were moved from mornings to a 7 p.m. start in 2007 in hopes of encouraging more community participation. Other than public hearings, commissioners said the participation has not increased.

Sixteen citizens attended Monday’s meeting.

Commissioners hope the earlier evening time will make it convenient for more people to attend meetings.

“Moving to 5:30 makes a lot of sense,” said Commissioner Josh Brown. “It’s worth a try.”

 

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