County Legislature shaking up meeting schedule to see if more public participation in 2023

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 December 2022 at 5:39 pm

Meetings will change from Wednesdays to Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m.

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Orleans County Legislature is shown during a meeting on Monday, which was outside of the usual schedule on the fourth Wednesday due to the holiday season. Pictured from left include legislators Bill Eick, Ed Morgan and Don Allport, county attorney Kathy Bogan, County Chief Administrative Officer Jack Welch, Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson, Clerk of Legislature Lisa Stenshorn and Legislator Fred Miller at far right. Not visible in photo are County Treasurer Kim DeFrank and legislators John Fitzak and Skip Draper.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature is making a change in the day for its monthly meeting in 2023.

For at least 25 years, the Legislature has met on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. It was the second Wednesday of the month before being moved to the fourth Wednesday on most months.

In 2023, the Legislature will meet on the fourth Tuesday during the months of January, March, April, May, June, August, September and October. The meetings will be on the third Tuesday for February, July and December.

The sessions are in the legislative chambers of the County Office Building at 14016 Route 31 W.

Jack Welch, the county chief administrative officer, said attendance from the public in person and through Zoom video conferencing has dropped, especially this year.

“After the pandemic, it seems like the public has stopped participating in person or online with our Legislature meetings,” Welch said. “In 2022 public participation has been extremely low.”

The Legislature is hopeful the change will result in more attending the meetings or offering comments through Zoom.

“One thing for sure is that participation can only improve with a new day,” Welch said. “This is another example of us asking why we are doing things a certain way. If our best answer is because we have always done it that way, then perhaps it is time to change things up a bit.”

The Legislature made a big change in its meetings in July 2019. That’s when the seven-member body moved from the top floor of the County Clerks Building in the historic Courthouse Square to a new meeting room as part of a 23,000-square-foot addition to the County Office Building on Route 31.

The County Legislature meets upstairs in the legislative chambers of the County Office Building at 14016 Route 31 W.