Two of the newest members of the Shelby County Board had something to say at the end of the meeting on Wednesday and it opened a can of worms.
At the end of the monthly meeting of the Shelby County Board on Wednesday, as members were smelling an adjournment, David Swits (Windsor) brought up committee appointments and Earl Baker (Oconee) joined in.
Swits has been on the board for nine months and Baker was appointed in July to fill the term of the late Rob Amling.
Swits was not happy about a lack of committee assignment.
“How do I get involved?” Swits said. “I feel like I’m being bypassed. I have sat for nine months and not been allowed to contribute.”
County Board Chairman Dave Cruitt said he wanted to talk to Swits after the meeting and Swits said he wanted to talk about it during the public meeting, because he wanted it public. Swits said he had asked before and nothing had come of it.
Bruce Cannon said Swits could have the Airport Committee. Someone else suggested that Swits had to wait, until someone stepped down from a committee. As a junior member, he then could move up.
That’s when Baker chimed in.
“I know Rob Amling was on different committees,” Baker said. “Were his seats dispersed before he died (and was replaced)?”
Cruitt and others said those appointments were made after Amling’s passing.
Barbara Bennett (District 5) suggested that someone should be on the board for a year before getting on a committee and giving an opinion, that there was a learning curve.
“I’ve been on boards before,” Baker said. “I have attending committee meetings and I have an ability and I would like to use it.”
Cruitt said that he makes those appointments. Usually appointments are made every 2 years, unless circumstances arise in between times.
Someone asked why Amling’s death was not one of those times and why an appointment was not given to Swits. Another member said, when he came on the board that he waited his turn.
Nothing was resolved, but before the meeting could be adjourned, Swits brought up another question.
“I’d like to start a conversation about the time of our meetings,” Swits said. “I think it would be better and more of the public could come in the evening.”
Meetings in the evening had been brought up before by others, but had gone nowhere with the board members. The meetings are currently at 9 a.m., the 2nd Wednesday of the month.
Dale Wetherell (District 6) joined in.
“The county board meetings shoot the morning for me,” Wetherell 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.”
Some wondered what night. Others thought it would require more night security at the courthouse.
“There would be bugs to work out,” Swits said.
Someone said it would be inconvenient for other county officials, who would have to stay for a late afternoon meeting or come back for an evening meeting.
County Treasurer Erica Firnhaber was present.
“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.”
Chairman Cruitt said he had done some research and said most counties have their meetings at night. Cruitt said he would get a committee together and look into it to put on the agenda.
It was moved to assess per diem and mileage. It was seconded and voted aye to adjourn.