Everett City Council night meeting compromise is close

  • Wed Jan 27th, 2010 10:37pm
  • News

By Debra Smith Herald Writer

EVERETT — A group of people who want the City Council to move its meetings back to all evenings said they might be willing to stop gathering signatures for a citizen initiative — on one condition.

The group would drop its campaign to get the issue on a spring ballot if city leaders approve a compromise to run three nights meetings a month along with one at the lunch hour, Barb Lamoureux, a leader of the group, told the council Wednesday.

“Our group would support that as a true compromise,” she said. “It allows more participation than 8:30 in the morning.”

Council members touched off the flap over meeting times when they abruptly decided earlier this month to move three meetings a month to mornings — without public notice. People wrote letters and e-mails complaining that the move curtailed access to the council’s doings. Last week, Councilman Shannon Affholter proposed what’s now being called the “3-1 compromise,” three night meetings and one at 8:30 a.m.

On Wednesday, Councilman Jeff Moore took that proposal one step further, and asked his colleagues if they might consider moving that daytime meeting to the lunch hour to provide “maximum opportunity” for people to participate. He also suggested that at least one of the three readings that occur before city laws are passed happen at one of those daytime meetings.

Several people stepped up to the podium Wednesday to tell the council they liked the “3-1 compromise,” including John Williams of Everett. He said a lunchtime meeting would be convenient for people who may work or own a business in town but don’t live here.

Reid Shockey of Everett told the council it was time to resolve the matter and he offered to buy the council — and everyone else in the room — a keg if they could work out a solution.

“As a community, we need to accept the fact mistakes were made and work together to come up with a compromise,” he said. “For goodness sake, let’s prevent this ripple of a controversy from turning into a tsunami.”

The council plans to hold two special 6:30 p.m. meetings Feb. 3 and 10 at council chambers, 3002 Wetmore Ave., so people can weigh in on the matter. A final decision likely will be made at the one regularly scheduled monthly night meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17.

Debra Smith: 425-339-3197, dsmith@heraldnet.com.