Burbank City Council opts for more meetings

The Burbank City Council will be meeting more frequently starting this month after not holding meetings several times last year, which some city officials said caused regular meetings to run past midnight.

In the 10 Tuesdays since Thanksgiving, the council has met five times for regular public meetings.

Under the new schedule, however, the council will meet on all but six Tuesdays through August. Most of the so-called “dark” Tuesdays fall during holiday weeks or special events, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day and National Night Out.

City Manager Mark Scott drafted the new schedule, which was given to the City Council on Tuesday.

“The City Council asked us to maximize meeting opportunities, so we eliminated a few dark Tuesdays,” Scott said in an email.

The move comes after one Tuesday meeting last November ran until nearly 4 a.m. the following day, and pushed the public-comment period past midnight.

That night, 29 people had turned in cards to speak during the public-comment period, but 14 left before being summoned to the podium.

“It degrades the quality of the public process when people are not able to continue to stay and give input to council, and council is clearly fatigued,” Councilman David Gordon said at the time.

Councilman Bob Frutos said Tuesday that regular meetings allow elected officials to better engage with the public.

“It’s important for the public to see us,” he said. “By having regular meetings, we can prioritize what’s really passionate for the community and put that on the radar versus trying to put two to three hot items, and then we’re here past midnight and the public gets tired.”

But Councilman Jess Talamantes told Scott he would be open to meeting cancellations if the circumstances called for that.

“I just don’t want to meet to meet — if we don’t have anything pertinent, time sensitive… I give you the latitude to cancel the meeting,” Talamantes said.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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