Council reinstates mandatory study sessions

In 2006, the Sequim City Council did away with mandated study sessions, believing them to be for the most part unnecessary.

“Paul (McHugh) and I found that we were spending two or three hours on nothing,” council member Bill Huizinga recalled during a Jan. 14 meeting.

But the new city council members do not share Huizinga’s sentiments and in a 4-3 vote on Jan. 28, the council passed a resolution mandating study sessions.

Before voting on the resolution the council briefly debated when the study sessions would be held — Mondays or Wednesdays. According to city manager Bill Elliott, staff usually holds a meeting every Monday morning and Police Chief Robert Spinks said Monday mornings were especially “rough” for him.

“I would prefer Wednesdays as far as my business is concerned,” councilman Walt Schubert said.

Schubert and councilman Paul McHugh both felt that the mandated study sessions would prevent many residents from participating because they are held during most people’s workdays. It is questionable, however, how much exact participation the public would have. Study sessions are usually reserved for council members to hash out potential agenda items prior to regular meetings. They are not required to include public comment periods and generally residents are prohibited from speaking.

Despite any scheduling inconveniences, the council voted to hold the meetings the first and third Monday of each month. Elliott and Spinks said they would adjust their schedules to make time for the study sessions.

The council’s first study session will take place at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St., due to the third Monday being a holiday.

“Do we have anything on the agenda, Laura, or are we just going to cancel it on the Web site?” McHugh asked Mayor Laura Dubois during the Jan. 28 meeting.

According to the City Clerk’s office, a presentation regarding a proposed new city hall, and a presentation regarding a proposed municipal court are already scheduled for the study session.

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