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Committee tames mountain of paperwork for commissioners

December 12th, 2011 11:04 pm by Kate Prahlad

Washington County Commissioners will receive a bound packet of 91 pages for their Dec. 19 commission meeting after the county’s Rules Committee voted on Monday to try out the new format.
Spurred by issues with November’s 326-page commission packet — many commissioners did not receive their packet until hours before the full commission meeting, if at all — the Rules Committee took up the matters of who prepares the packet, its format, and the deadlines for submissions at its Dec. 12 meeting.
Committee members discussed a draft resolution prepared by County Attorney John Rambo that addressed those questions, but the only action taken was to give bound packets with page numbers a try for this month’s meeting. The vote instructs County Mayor Dan Eldridge’s executive assistant, Sherry Greene, to print the packets and give them to the planning office, where they will be bound, and then sent to commissioners.
For previous packets, Greene had been printing, collating, and tabbing sections into binders for commissioners, which she said was very time-consuming. Committee members suggested the page numbers and bound packet would eliminate some of that work for her.
Who will prepare the packet will be decided at a later date, as the draft resolution, which Rambo wrote with input from Commission Chair Greg Matherly, was deferred to January’s Rules Committee meeting.
The draft resolution states the Commission Chair would establish the agenda, and all requests for special presentations/workshops would be forwarded to the chair for scheduling. The agenda would also be reviewed by the chair before it is distributed.
In order to allow for enough time to prepare the packet and to cut down on handouts at meetings, requests for proclamations would have to be submitted 14 days before the scheduled meeting; information related to the proclamation would be submitted to the county attorney with the request.
Requests for resolutions would have to be submitted 12 days prior to the meeting date; reports and committee minutes would be required 11 days before the meeting.
The chair would supervise the agenda’s production, and can ask the mayor, clerk or attorney for assistance if necessary.
The agenda would have to be emailed out seven days prior to the full commission meeting, as well as printed and mailed in the same time frame.
These rules would not apply to special meeting and the commission chair would have the authority to waive any of the rules if in the best interest of the commission or public.
The committee will consider this resolution at its January meeting.

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