Evening meetings are a must
During the crowded public hearing session of the last Islip Town Board meeting, which was held uncharacteristically in the evening beginning at 6 p.m., a resident stood up and asked the board to consider holding all future town meetings during the evening hours. That’s a very good idea.
Currently, town board meetings are held either monthly or bi-monthly at 2 p.m., except for the rare occasion that happens a couple of times a year, such as the meeting held on Nov. 21. The problem is, these meetings are usually not well attended, unless of course there is a hot-button issue that needs to be addressed. It’s not surprising – at 2 p.m. most people are at work. That’s a problem because if there is an important issue they need to discuss with their representatives, such as downtown parking meters, placing historic designation on a significant property or a huge apartment project being proposed in a residential area (some of the topics that have come up in recent meetings), it means taking time off from their job. That just isn’t fair.
In all fairness to the town board though, Islip is not the only town holding these meetings during the day. Still, that doesn’t make it right.
It should be every elected official’s responsibility to make certain that constituents have full access to the government process. The only way that can be properly achieved is to actually make it easier for them to be well-informed and involved. The best way to keep abreast of the workings of their government is to attend town meetings, where they have an opportunity to hear and to be heard. Evening meetings will make a big difference in getting that done.
Hopefully, in the near future, Islip’s officials will certainly consider making that important and necessary change to the town board meeting schedule.
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