Cass board moves meetings up to 7 in 2010, but none at 4Published 9:33am Friday, December 4, 2009
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS – Cass County commissioners will meet earlier in 2010, but a move to return to a 2008 mix of afternoon and night sessions failed.
Commissioners agreed to start a half hour earlier – 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.
But Commissioner David Taylor’s amendment to meet at 4 p.m. for half the year, May to October, died for lack of support.
The board adopted the 7 p.m. time change on a 13-2 vote Thursday night, with Vice Chairman Ron Francis, R-Cassopolis, and Carl Higley Sr., R-Edwardsburg, opposed.
Higley proved the most outspoken proponent for afternoon meetings.
“I don’t think this is fair for some of the employees and department heads who would attend if they could,” Higley stated. “I’d like to see at least some of these meetings back at 4 o’clock.”
“I endorse what Commissioner Higley said,” added Commissioner Gordon Bickel Sr., R-Constantine. “I think at least half of our meetings can be when courthouse staff can attend.”
“If you do it at 4 o’clock,” countered Commissioner Charlie Arnold, R-Cassopolis, “you’ll have to be self-employed or retired to serve on this board. I think that’s wrong in the interest of diversity.
“Everyone at different age levels has different views. For the county to be represented properly, I think different age groups should be able to serve on this board,” Arnold added.
“If you move meetings to 4 o’clock, I can’t be here because I don’t get out of work until 10 minutes to 4 in Niles,” Commissioner Debbie Johnson, D-Niles, said. “I’d be willing to do 5:30; 6:30 would be wonderful because 7:30 is kind of late.”