By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – After weeks of discussion, the Marshfield Common Council has voted to begin their meetings one hour earlier.
When a motion to amend the ordinance to a 6:30 p.m. start failed, the council voted 9-1 to move the start time of the meetings to 6 p.m., from their current 7 p.m. time slot.
Alderman Chris Jockheck was the lone council member to vote “no” in the matter.
“Six o’clock is just way too early,” he said. “People that have to work; people that are coming to the meeting and want to engage, it is going to be difficult for them.”
“We want to make sure that the local citizens that choose to come can get there,” said Mayor Bob McManus in a later interview. “Many times people might want to come, then they come home and have dinner… and maybe they don’t come. Going to 6 o’clock, we think, might be a benefit to the citizens.
“Our staff is really incredible and many of them, they’ll get to work at 7 or 8 o’clock in the morning and work all day long, staying until the meeting, and sometimes not get out of here until 9 or 10 o’clock at night; so, if we can get them home an hour earlier…”
“As far as the council, I think it is a very good thing because some of these council meetings, what we’ve seen is starting at 7 o’clock over the last several years has been fine. I can’t say, but I don’t think that the agendas have been as long… These are long, and we don’t get into the close session until the very end.
City Administrator Steve Barg said that time change is experimental and is subject to change if the council finds that it is not beneficial.
The change will take affect with the August 14 meeting.