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Leader Editorial: Council should get back to a regular schedule

The opinion of the Leader

November 09, 2013

While the rest of Burbank slumbered, the City Council, staff members and a few stalwart citizens were in City Hall until nearly 4 a.m. Wednesday for a council meeting that had begun at 6 p.m. the night before.

How is it possible that such a meeting could become a test of physical endurance that takes 10 hours to complete? Blame it on an overambitious agenda jammed with items that have been postponed because the council simply has not met frequently enough in recent months, according to some city officials.

As we report this week, there have been only 11 City Council meetings since the current council was sworn in 27 weeks ago. In an unsettling trend, the council has been meeting roughly twice a month since May, sometimes having schedule conflicts such as joint meetings with various boards or commissions.

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It also has joint meetings the next two weeks with the airport authority and school officials, respectively, that force the regular council meetings to go dark. Then, the council isn't scheduled to meet Thanksgiving week.

To help alleviate jam-packed agendas, the Burbank City Council should insist its joint meetings with boards and commissions be moved to a different night of the week and resume regular Tuesday-night meetings focused on its own agenda.

When regular open meetings are canceled so frequently, it can undermine public confidence. It can also keep many residents from asking council members questions when the public-comment portion of the meeting doesn't start until after midnight, like it did this past meeting.

Also, council members are elected to make the best decisions possible on behalf of the people of Burbank. It's difficult for us to believe that any business tackled in the wee hours — after all involved have already put in a full day of work — can be given the proper attention by people who are struggling to keep their eyes open.

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