Cape Gazette

A return to night meetings?

By Ron MacArthur | Jan 07, 2014

Are night meetings in Sussex County Council's near future?

Councilwoman Joan Deaver, D-Rehoboth Beach, started off the New Year saying she thinks it's time county council revisited the idea of returning to night meetings. Surprisingly, Councilman Vance Phillips, R-Laurel, supported her idea and wanted to get the matter on next week's agenda. “I think this would serve the public much better,” Deaver said.

There was no action to get the matter on the next agenda, but it's a safe bet it will surface again.

Council has batted this idea back and forth over the years, and at one time had night meetings. Late-night public hearings and paying staff overtime eventually were the killing blows to the idea.

Currently, council meets at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays with land-use public hearings starting at 1:30 p.m.



Comments (1)
Posted by: Joan Deaver | Jan 19, 2014 08:09

Why was this issue not put on the next week's calendar? Who made that decision when and where? Was there a vote? How many such decisions are made behind closed doors?

The issue: working class, younger people are denied the opportunity to see and participate in their elected officials' meetings because county council meetings are held during the day. Sussex is the only DE council that doesn't meet at night. That seems a deliberate effort to ignore people who work during the day. Maybe that's why the members are older, wealthy  business people and retirees who can set their own schedules. The youngest member is 50 years old. The planning and zoning commission and board of adjustment meet in the evenings but are not substitutes for county council meetings. The council is elected and has the power to write law and run the county the others do not.

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The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.