FLINT TWP. — Township board meetings could be reduced to once a month under a proposal made last week by Township Supervisor Karyn Miller. Citing bylaws that allow the board to elect once-a-month meetings, Miller said she is proposing the change in part because the clerk’s office will be “overworked and understaffed” leading up to the May 5 election.
The board currently meets on the first and third Monday of each month, with some exceptions due to holidays and other conflicts.
Miller noted that recent meeting agendas have had only about three items of business that all could have been handled at one meeting. She suggested holding one board meeting at the first of the month and keeping the second meeting only if needed.
“I would like the board to consider it,” she said.
The board took no action on her suggestion but three trustees expressed opposition.
“Are we cheating the public out of comment (time)? trustee George Menoutes asked. “If we are not here they can’t talk to us.”
Miller responded that any resident can come to the township office at any time from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday to speak to township officials. She also noted that her cellphone number is on her business cards and she takes calls on weekends.
Menoutes said: “I am just thinking of the public. If they want to talk to us as a body, they will only have one privilege a month.” He asked how long Miller wanted to reduce meetings. She said at least until after the May election. Trustee Frank Kasle said he thought he understood the necessity of sometimes canceling scheduled meetings, he would not support a permanent change to oncea month meetings. “I think you should know how we feel before you take this too far,’’ he said. Trustee Belenda Parker also spoke against the change. The board already has approved its meeting schedule for the entire year, she said. Menoutes suggested returning to a fiveday work week if the clerk’s office lacks sufficient time to get work done. Dave Huffman, a resident, also spoke against the change during public comment. For a body that is supposed to be transparent, there is nothing but excuses, he said.