Candland Seeks Amendment to Board Rules, Voting Times
– January 13, 2014 1:45 pm
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Supervisor Peter Candland says he wants some of the county’s business to be conducted later and for it to me more transparent.
Candland, who represents Prince William County’s Gainesville District, penned a letter to his fellow Board officials advocating for votes on issues to be taken at the Board’s 7:30 p.m. sessions instead of their 2 p.m. meetings, which are regularly scheduled on Tuesdays.
In his letter, Candland wrote:
More than two-thirds of workers who live in Prince William County face long commutes to their jobs outside of the county. That fact makes it extremely difficult for those citizens to arrange their schedules to attend meetings held by the Board of County Supervisors under the current schedule regimen, even when they have significant issues before the Board.
He also wants to add more citizens’ public speaking time during Board meetings during a session dubbed “citizens’ time,” and increase it by 15 minutes from 30 to 45 minutes. During citizens’ time, residents are given three minutes each to speak to their elected officials. Those officials, in turn, do not respond the speakers, according to rules of procedure.
Candland also wants more information about Board meetings, such as agendas, documents, and upcoming presentations, to be distributed to residents at the same time it is given to officials. He alleges that during some sessions, information has been withheld from Board members up until the time of the regularly scheduled meeting.
County spokesman Jason Grant says county documents that are included in each Board packet are released about a week before a regularly scheduled meeting, with the exception of late requests made after the time of dispatch by Board members seeking information to be presented at an upcoming meeting. Additionally, items such as the annual budget are not released ahead of time.
“If we put out the budget before presenting it during a Board meeting and to the public, there is a lack of context that would come with that, so we present that to the Board all at once,” said Grant.
There are about 700 emails on file with the county that receive Board documents prior to each regularly scheduled Board meeting, said Grant. Grant said that to his knowledge, there has been never been a request by any Board member to withhold information from the public.
The Board at the start of the New Year has the option to review its rules and procedures, as well as change any they deem necessary.
There never been a request by any Board member to withhold information from the public while Grant has been head of the county’s communications department, he said.