Among the regular fare of Shelby County business on Wednesday, board members by a close vote decided to keep their monthly meetings in the morning.
After conducting usual monthly business, the board entertained a motion to move their monthly board meetings from the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 9 a.m. to the 2nd Thursday of the month at 6 p.m.
It was brought up at a previous meeting. It was discussed at another meeting.
Some of the proponents thought a night meeting would allow the voting public, who work in the mornings, to attend the meetings. They also thought people who work during the day could consider running for a position on the board.
“The county board meetings shoot the morning for me,” Dale Wetherell (District 6, Clarksburg, Holland, Prairie Townships) had said. “I’ve always been for the time change. I’m retired now and was independent, working for myself, so I could come in the mornings. Not everyone can take off work and be involved. It would be nice in the evening.”
Those who were not in favor of a night meetings were concerned about extra cost for security after hours and county employees who would have to stay late or come back from home for the meetings.
County Treasurer Erica Firnhaber had said, “I was not elected to just work from 8 to 4,” Firnhaber said. “I have no problem with an evening meeting. Gina Vonderheide is the State’s Attorney and it’s hard for her to be here (during the mornings), because she is in court.”
County Board Chairman Dave Cruitt (District 10, Shelbyville Precincts 1, 6, 7) had said he had done some research and said most counties have their meetings at night. Cruitt said he would get a committee together and put it on the agenda.
When the item came up in the agenda on Wednesday, Wetherell made the motion to change the time of the meetings. Gary Gergeni, District 8 (Okaw, Windsor township) seconded the motion. Gergeni has been looking for this change since he came on the board almost 10 years ago.
The roll was called. The motion was voted down, 11-7.
Those opposed to an evening change were Kenneth Barr, District 5 (Dry Point Herrick, Lakewood), Barbara Bennett, District 5, Bruce Cannon, District 2 (Penn, Flat Branch, Pickaway, Ridge, Rural Todd’s Point, Tower Hill), Bryon Coffman, District 1 (Penn, Moweaqua), Dennis Drnjevic, District 8 (Okaw, Windsor), Jesse Durbin, District 9 (Windsor, Richland, Shelbyville 5), Richard Hayden, District 1 (Penn, Moweaqua), Kay Kearney, District 10 (Shelbyville 1, 6, 7), Larry Lenz, District 9 (Windsor, Richland, Shelbyville 5), Terry Metzger District 3 (Rose, Tower Hill), Frank Mulholland, District 11 (Rose, Shelbyville 2, 3, 4), Robert Simpson, District 4 (Oconee, Cold Spring, Tower Hill)
Those in favor of the change to evening were: Earl Baker, District 4 (Oconee, Cold Spring, Tower Hill), Gergeni, District 8 (Okaw, Windsor), Gary Patterson, District 3 (Rose, Tower Hill), David Swits, District 7 (Ash Grove, Big Spring, Sigel), Wetherell, District 6 (Clarksburg, Holland, Prairie), and newly seated member Bobby Orman, District 7 (Ash Grove, Big Spring, Sigel).
County Chairman Cruitt abstained. Robert Jordan, District 2 (Penn, Flat Branch, Pickaway, Ridge, Rural, Todds Point, Tower Hill) was absent. Lynn Williams, District 11 (Rose, Shelbyville 2, 3, 4) was absent. Arthur James, District 6 (Clarksburg, Holland, Prairie) was absent.
Even if those three that were absent had voted in favor of the motion, it would have lost, 11-10. The nay votes represented Districts 1, 2, half of 3, 5, half of 8, 9, 10, 11. The aye votes represented half of 3, half of 4, 6, 7, 8. Eight districts had nay votes and 5 districts had an aye vote.
The nay votes were 8 Democrat, 3 Republicans. The aye votes were all Republican. Votes not cast were split.