RIO RANCHO, N.M. — We think it’s a good compromise that the Rio Rancho Governing Body has moved its regular meeting time back to 6 p.m., albeit on a different day than the traditional one.
Earlier this year, the governing body discussed moving the time of regular meetings from 6 p.m. Wednesday but dismissed the idea. Then in May, governing body members voted 4-3 to change the start time to 4 p.m. Thursday.
We complained that the time would be a problem for most residents and the public hadn’t been given enough chance for input.
We weren’t the only ones who didn’t think it was a good idea. Councilor Paul Wymer had said that getting off work in time to make a 4 p.m. meeting would be a hardship for him, and Councilor Jennifer Flor had said she needed to pick up her child from school at 4 p.m.
Councilor Jim Owen opposed the move and said later he couldn’t get off work until 4 p.m., meaning he would be late to every meeting.
At the governing body meeting June 10, Owen asked for a reconsideration of the meeting time at the following meeting, to which Councilor Bob Tyler, a member of the prevailing side, agreed.
Regulations require that a member of the prevailing side request reconsideration of a vote in order to make it happen.
At the June 24 meeting, all city councilors except Dan Stoddard voted to move the time back two hours to 6 p.m. but keep the new meeting day of Thursday.
We appreciate Owen being persistent enough to respectfully request another vote, and Tyler being considerate enough to support it.
We also very much appreciate that the time has been moved back. It now allows people working regular hours, parents who need to pick up children from school or after-school activities and even students, such as the Boy Scouts who periodically come to observe meetings, to attend and participate in their government more easily.
We’re also happy to see that the governing body was very specific in advance about what they were going to consider, allowing for members of the public to decide whether they wanted to comment on the issue.
Since 6 p.m. Wednesday night meetings were apparently a problem, then moving the meetings to a different night but keeping them after regular business hours is a reasonable compromise.
For us, 6 p.m. on Thursday is actually even more difficult than 4 p.m. because it has us doing more coverage two more hours into the deadline crunch. However, that’s not the most important issue here.
The most important issue is that government be as accessible to the taxpayers and voters as possible. The 6 p.m. meeting time allows that much better than 4 p.m. on any weekday.
So, we’ll call it good and make the coverage work.
Thank you to the Rio Rancho Governing Body for keeping meetings accessible to your constituents.