In a 3-2 vote, McLennan County commissioners decided to reduce the frequency of their meetings by half, from once every week to once every other week.
Commissioners Lester Gibson and Kelly Snell voted against the change.
Instead of meeting every Tuesday, commissioners’ regularly scheduled meetings will be on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
Gibson said he has been with the county for almost 28 years and doesn’t see the need for change, especially when there is no problem.
County Judge Scott Felton, who proposed the move, said meeting weekly takes time away from department heads’ schedules when they spend every Tuesday morning with commissioners.
Commissioner Kelly Snell said he is open to trying something new and is glad the court left the option open to hold additional meetings throughout the month as needed.
But he said the county recently started paying at least $1,380 a year for an online live-streaming service of the meetings and that should be put to use.
Snell said department heads or staff could watch the commissioners court meetings from their office, and if they have something on the agenda, could walk down to the meeting room as the agenda item gets closer.
“The reason why I voted against it is because I felt that before we changed to fewer meetings, I would like to embrace the technology we have,” Snell said. “I think there’s a perceived notion if we have court, certain people have to be there.”
Snell said he also is concerned there will be a backlog of work with fewer meetings.
“This definitely won’t be any less work,” Snell said.
Felton said there are four months this year that have five Tuesdays, so those would allow for additional meetings.
Commissioner Ben Perry said the months with the extra Tuesday allow for a day dedicated to hearing staff reports, which often take the most time.
Commissioner Will Jones said he looked at the meetings in September. Most ran one to two hours, so meeting less often won’t bog down the day, Jones said.
The next commissioners court meeting is Jan. 19.