FLINT TWP. — Despite calls by several residents to change the Board of Trustee meetings back to their original time at 7 p.m., the board voted 4-3 to keep the time at 6 p.m. on the first and third Mondays.
The board decided to stick with the 6 p.m. time at its March 2 meeting, considering a request to return to the 7 p.m. meeting time to accommodate residents, and some board members, who wanted the time change.
Trustee Frank Kasle said he doesn’t think the time change, made last September, has worked well for anyone except the three board members who are already at the township offices because they work there all day – Supervisor Karyn Miller, Clerk Kathy Funk and Treasurer Lisa Anderson.
“I don’t think it’s worked,” said Kasle. “Attendance at board meetings is lower and I think we ought to go back to 7 p.m. I think we changed it for convenience of board members, but it’s the public who comes to the board meeting who we should be thinking about.”
Resident and business owner Kevin Stiff, owner of the Dive Shop, 4020 Corunna Rd., said he’s a “regular” at board meetings where he complains about everything from street lighting to taxes, but he said he hasn’t been attending since the change from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“I run classes in the evening,” he said, speaking in regard to the Dive Shop. “I have 6 p.m. classes, I have to bring somebody in to work if I want to attend a meeting at 6 p.m.”
Resident John Whiteside said he’s noticed attendance is light since the 6 p.m. time change, and while he understands its more convenient for some officials, he thinks residents deserve the time to stay at 7 p.m.
“Residents are what this meeting should be about,” said Whiteside.
Gerald Roberts, another frequent attendee of board meetings, said 6 p.m. is his usual supper time and he would prefer the meets to go back to 7 p.m.
Trustee Tom Klee said he agreed with Kasle but understood how the 6 p.m. time worked better for the supervisor, clerk and treasurer who have been working all day and would prefer to ge the meeting started earlier.
“I understand you’re here until 5:30 and it would be nice to start at 6 p.m.,” said Klee. “But we all knew what we signed on for when we were elected.”
Trustee Barb Vert said the decision was not made to just benefit the elected officials, but it was made for the sake of department heads who want to get home earlier.
Police Chief Kevin Salter and Fire Chief Thomas Stadler both said they preferred the 6 p.m. start time.
Miller said she hasn’t noticed the difference in attendance, while Vert said the new time hasn’t been given a fair try since it was only started in September.
When the board voted March 2, they were 4-3 in favor of keeping the time at 6 p.m. Funk, Klee and Kasle were the only votes to return to 7 p.m.