WARNER ROBINS -- Beginning this week, Warner Robins City Council will hold precouncil meetings more than an hour earlier.
It was just a logistic thing, said Mayor Chuck Shaheen. Instead of keeping employees late, we decided to let them head home earlier.
Beginning Thursday, Warner Robins precouncil meetings will be held at 4 p.m. instead of 5:15 p.m. The meetings are held the Thursday prior to the regular council meetings, which are held the first and third Mondays of the month at 5:30 p.m.
After the last precouncil meeting on Jan. 12, Shaheen asked council members to change the time to help cut back on overtime. The council agreed.
Shaheen said Wednesday that cost savings wouldnt be very much, but the point is to allow everyone to get home to their families earlier. He said he hadnt considered the publics ability to attend an earlier meeting.
That wasnt even a factor, he said. You only have a dozen people who go there anyways. And most of them are retired.
The reasons for choosing meeting times differ among Houston Countys governmental bodies. Georgia Municipal Association spokeswoman Amy Henderson said public attendance can be among the factors taken into consideration for meeting times, as well as the amount of time staff has to be at work and other aspects that affect the governmental body and its residents.
In Perry, the regular City Council meetings are the first and third Tuesday at 6 p.m., after a 5 p.m. precouncil meeting.
A work session is held the preceding Monday at 5 p.m.
City Manager Lee Gilmour said council sets times to accommodate residents and council members work schedules.
Consequently, we have all our meetings at night, he said. The last thing thats considered for when the meetings are held is an issue relative to employee costs.
He said the only hourly employee is typically the person taking the minutes, and overtime is budgeted in advance.
The Houston County Board of Education holds its regular meetings at 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.
Centerville City Council holds its regular meetings at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month and precouncil meetings on the third Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Houston County governmental bodies each hold meetings at one location, their respective home offices, except the Houston County Commission.
The commission holds meetings at two different times and places: 9 a.m. at the first meeting of the month at the Houston County Courthouse in Perry, and 6 p.m. at the second meeting of the month at the Houston County Annex Building in Warner Robins.
We try to have them at two ends of the county to give people an opportunity, that if they can come during the daytime hours, theres a meeting, Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said. And we have them at night for the people who cant come during the daytime hours.
No time or place is necessarily wrong, Henderson said.
Its different around the state. Its different from city to county to school board, Henderson said. Ultimately, it is entirely up to the governing body.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.