It’s Time to Change the Time of Council Meetings
On October 26, the County Council voted on many major development issues that will quite literally shape the future of economic development in Prince George’s County. Unfortunately, like many others, I did not have an opportunity to express my opinion to them, on the record, because they are busy making these decisions during the middle of the day, on a Tuesday. Like a majority of residents, I work outside the County during the day, and would have to take my own personal leave to attend.
If Prince George’s County wants to change its image of making decisions behind closed doors and with the limited input of Council and County Executive “cronies” then they should start meeting publicly at a time when most of the public can actually come and participate. I’ve attended only two Council meetings, both of which required me to appear in person to be confirmed for a position on a County Commission. At both of these meetings, there were only a dozen or so others attending, and empty seats filled the room where Council representatives were making decisions that affect the lives of nearly one million residents.
I asked District 9 Councilman-elect Mel Franklin about what he plans to do to address my concern, and here’s what he said: “I am planning to propose the change in Council meetings to Tuesday evenings. It may cause my District 9 meetings to shift to the 4th Monday or 4th Wednesday, but that would be worth it.” I need your help to hold him to his promise, and to also let your Council representatives in other Districts know that you would like them to vote to change the time of the Council meetings too.
I also had the opportunity to ask Mr. Franklin about what he plans to do in regard to the outrageous County Council salaries that are paid for the part-time work they do. He provided the following commentary: “I vehemently opposed allowing the salary increase to happen in a year. It’s out of touch and tone-deaf policy. The problem is that the Council isn’t permitted to alter its own salary, only that of the next Council, which prevents me from making the suggested change for the upcoming 4 year-term. I am looking into whether it is state law that prevents legislative bodies in Maryland from altering their own salaries to see if it can be modified to at least allow legislative bodies to alter their own salaries downward only.”
If anyone can help him answer this question about state law, please e-mail him at email@example.com, and share it with others. This doesn’t make sense to me at all, and probably not to the average voter either.