Hurry Up and Wait (Again)
Cincinnati City Council’s sole meeting during its summer break, held Wednesday at the Art Museum in Eden Park, was a return to form for lollygagging local officials.Although the public comment forum before the meeting was advertised as beginning at 1:30 p.m., Mayor Mark Mallory actually didn’t convene the forum into session until about 1:55 p.m.
Although council’s general meeting was slated to begin at 2 p.m., the sheer number of residents who signed up to speak at the forum on several controversial issues being dealt with by council that day caused the forum to last until 2:55 p.m.
When the public forum ended, Mallory mentioned the 124 items on council’s unusually busy agenda for the day. He repeated several times to council members and the crowd that there would only be a five-minute recess before the meeting began. In fact, the recess lasted about 20 minutes and the regular meeting finally got underway at 3:15 p.m. — an hour and 15 minutes after its announced start time.
The recess included Mallory’s visit to the restroom, accompanied by his bodyguard, police Specialist Scotty Johnson.
Local activist Monica Williams, who has scolded council in the past about its tardiness, did so again Wednesday. She noted that many residents must take time off from work to attend council’s afternoon meetings if they want to provide input on local issues. Officials should respect that sacrifice and handle business in a timely manner.
By comparison, residents who sign up to speak at the meetings forfeit their turn if they’re not in the meeting room when called on by officials.
“There is a lack of respect for the public’s time,” Williams said.
— Kevin Osborne