Can Highland Park leaders get as much done while meeting only about half as often?
The Town Council aims to try.
At the urging of Mayor Margo Goodwin, council members have scrapped a schedule that had them meeting in regular session the second and fourth Mondays of the month with study session meetings on the preceding Tuesdays.
That schedule produced about 44 meeting dates a year.
“I count your time as more valuable than that.” Mayor Margo Goodwin.
Instead, the council will meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month, first in regular session to take action on agenda items and then followed those same mornings by a study session to receive reports and discuss future business. Meetings will begin at 8 a.m.
Regular sessions tend to last mere minutes except when a hot topic draws a crowd and many residents wanting to offer public comments. Study sessions often last an hour or more.
What if the council needs to meet more than 20 times a year?
“You can always call another study session,” council member Eric Gambrell said.
In 2018, the council scheduled a Saturday session to tour Hackberry Creek in anticipation of considering a masterplan for the greenbelt area.
The former schedule included one 4 p.m. meeting a month. With that no longer the case, Boy Scouts could find it harder to attend meetings when seeking to satisfy merit badge requirements.
Scouts could still come during breaks from school, town secretary Gayle Kirby noted.
Goodwin identified another benefit of fewer meeting dates. She said it should make it “easier to recruit new council members.”