Commission augments procedure rules

Mar. 17, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

Citing a need for more convenience, the Rutherford County Commissioners made some changes to its policy and procedures.

Commissioners voted to change the deadline for placing items on its monthly agenda, the time the agenda would be ready and requiring motions to have a second from a fellow commissioner before proceeding.

Under the rules of procedure for the Commission, items of business required submission to the board clerk by the second Thursday prior to the regular meeting. That gave a full two to three weeks of items that could not be submitted for Commission consideration.

"That, in the past, has been a very bad inconvenience for those that are putting the agenda together," said Commission Chairman Julius Owens. "Especially during the holidays."

Now, under the new rules, agenda items can be added up to the Monday before a regular meeting — or seven days.

"A lot of times we are forced to leave things off because things come up closer to the Commission meeting," Owens said.

Owens said there have been instances where the board clerk has had to work late because the deadline fell near a holiday.

In addition, the agenda will be available to commissioners and the public the Wednesday prior to the meeting. In the past, the agenda was available on the second Friday prior to the meeting.

"There are certain things that we need to do and you don't always have a month to do it," said Commissioner Eddie Holland. "When you deal with business like that, it is important to have a procedure like this in place."

One commissioner said that by reducing the time between the deadline to place items on the agenda and the meeting, problems may arise.

"If it stays like it is, you can have time to make a second request when things fall through," said Commissioner Bo Richard. "We are still getting handouts even during the meeting.

"To me this is the tail wagging the dog."

Commissioner Greg Lovelace said it came down to a question of efficiency.

"Things are fluid and, if things didn't change I would agree that a longer time would be needed," Lovelace said. "I don't think we are being efficient if we don't allow things to be fluid."

Another change in the policy requires a second, or a concurrence to any motion made.

"Personally, I like seconds because if a commissioner has an idea and doesn't get a second, it kills it," Holland said. "If you don't have a second, you aren't going to get anything passed anyway.

"In my first term, we had seconds and it worked great ... if it isn't broke, don't fix it."