Knightdale’s public safety and finance committees met infrequently in 2013

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJanuary 6, 2014 

  • Staying on Schedule

    Here are the scheduled meeting dates for Knightdale’s boards and committees in 2014:

    • Finance Committee: first and third Monday each month March through June

    • Planning and Engineering Committee: second Monday of each month

    • Public Safety Committee: third Wednesday of each month

    • Land Use Review Board: second Monday of each month (after Planning and Engineering Committee meeting)

    • Parks and Recreation Advisory Board: fourth Tuesday of the month

    • Old Town Oversight Committee: second Thursday of the month

— Most town boards and committees had a productive 2013 but two committees – public safety and finance – finished the year holding five or less meetings each, town documents show.

The Town of Knightdale provided copies of official minutes for each town board or committee meeting in 2013 through their website and after Eastern Wake News requested any other minutes that were not posted online.

The town’s finance committee is supposed to meet the first Monday and third Wednesday from March until June. In the other months of the year, the committee is meant to meet every third Wednesday. The town provided three copies of official minutes for meetings in February and another in March and Jimmie Overton, the town’s finance director, said minutes were not taken at the other two meetings because they were presentations with no discussion.

The Public Safety Committee, which was set to meet every first Monday, only had minutes from meetings in January, April, October and November.

None of the town’s boards and committees met in July, but Knightdale Communicatons Director Brian Bowman said that’s not unusual. It is the beginning of the fiscal year and a new budget year is just beginning, so many boards wait to meet until the transition period passes.

Town boards and committees are meant to act as advisers to the Town Council. Most are made up of citizens, but the public safety and finance committees are made of councilors and other town staff, like police chief Jason Godwin.

A few days before the public safety meetings, which are scheduled a year in advance like all the boards and committees, Godwin and fire chief Tim Guffey talk about whether there’s anything new or worth updating in their respective departments.

“If there’s not anything pressing, we text the chairman and they cancel (the meeting),” Godwin said. Last year, the public safety’s chairman was former council member Jeff Eddins.

The town’s finance committee is in charge of creating the town’s budget, so their meetings tend to happen more regularly, Mayor Russell Killen said.

“(Other committees are) more issue-specific but the finance committee has the same thing every year,” he said.

Even so, most of the finance committee’s work happens outside the meetings and meetings are used to discuss priorities that drive budget creation.

Not breaking town policy

Unlike Town Council, which is written into Knightdale’s town code, boards and committees meet as the town sets dates. The town code does not say the town has to have the boards and committees so it also doesn’t regulate when they meet.

“If there’s an agenda then (the committees) would meet,” Killen said. “If there were things that were not getting done by committees that needed to get done, we would change leadership.”

Killen said he can’t recall a time the town had to do that.

In 2013, according to the town’s pre-set schedule, the Finance Committee had eight scheduled meetings. The committee met five times last year.

The Public Safety Committee was scheduled to meet 12 times but only met four times.

The Old Town Oversight Committee, which is to be held on a monthly base as needed, met the most in 2013. Town documents show the committee met nine months out of the year.

Most of the committee’s meetings revolved around updates to ongoing projects and violations of town code within the Old Town area.

The Planning and Engineering Committee did not have minutes for July and September for their monthly meetings and the Land Use Review Board was missing minutes for January, July and September.

 

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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