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Aldermen try to curb late-night sessions

Evanston aldermen Monday voted to rearrange their schedule in hopes of ending meeting marathons.


Evanston aldermen Monday voted to rearrange their schedule in hopes of ending meeting marathons.

In the first City Council Rules Committee session since five new aldermen took office, they voted to move Planning and Development Committee meetings to the first and third Mondays of each month.

Full City Council meetings and Administration and Public Works Committee meetings will continue to be held on second and fourth Mondays.

When all three sessions were held on the same night, meetings were scheduled to begin with A&PW at 5:30 p.m., rarely ended before 11 p.m., and frequently stretched to midnight or beyond.

If committee meetings ran late, it meant that the start of the City Council meeting, already scheduled for the relatively late hour of 8:30 p.m., had to be delayed.

And on the rare occasions when committee meetings ended early, there’d be a gap that left spectators cooling their heels until the published start time of the full council meeting.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, objected that the new schedule would mean that developers and citizens groups who’ve spent money to hire experts to make presentations on development projects would have to appear on twice as many nights.

But other aldermen said the new schedule would give residents more time to learn about development projects and lobby their aldermen before a final vote is taken.

The aldermen considered also moving Administration and Public Works meetings to the first and third Mondays but concluded that was not feasible because of the need to take quick final action on bills, payroll and some contract awards.

The aldermen did not set new starting times for the meetings and asked the city manager to work out details of how the new schedule might affect staff operations and the schedule for other committee meetings.

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