|Cotati alters council meetings
The Cotati City Council at its meeting on July 24 unanimously voted to change its meeting days from Wednesdays to Tuesdays.
The council originally had planned to hold its first Tuesday meeting in September but pushed the date back until Oct. 8. The city staff report stated how moving the meeting to Tuesdays would provide for greater business flexibility, as well as allowing the greatest council and public participation.
Though the vote was unanimous – Councilwoman Susan Harvey participated via teleconference – Vice-Mayor John Dell’Osso had some concerns.
“Knowing there are Friday closures, I just think that’s one less day staff has to get things together and one less day for us to prepare reading materials,” Dell’Osso said. “And we also have to make sure that with the other committees that we’re on, there are no conflicts.”
City Hall has been closed on Fridays for the past couple of years because of budget restraints. But City Manager Dianne Thompson said the impact on her staff would be minimal.
“From a staff perspective, it really doesn’t matter that much,” Thompson told the council. “I think what’s most important is setting a date that works for the council and the community. From a staff perspective, we’ll make it work.”
Another byproduct of the change in days is the affect it will have on local coverage. The Community Voice’s goes to press Wednesday afternoons, hours before the regularly scheduled 7 p.m. council meetings. The Voice can get items up on the online edition, but the stories on Cotati appear in print nine days later.
“One of the questions I get asked a lot is ‘why is it always a week late? I wish I could get the information sooner,’” Dell’Osso said. “This is not a matter of benefitting the newspaper, it’s about benefitting the citizens, seeing they get their information in a more timely manner.”
Councilwoman Wendy Skillman pointed out how the change would also benefit those, including her mother, who are computer illiterate and only read the print edition.
The change also means the Cotati meeting days will coincide with those of Rohnert Park, which also meets on Tuesdays, but RP’s meetings are scheduled for 5 p.m., two hours before Cotati meetings.
“I hate seeing us compared to RP and being a week late,” Cotati Mayor Mark Landman said. “Having the extra day for the Voice to listen to the podcast, make calls if necessary to ask additional questions is invaluable.”