PE-Town Meeting Proposed

Published 4:19 pm Thursday, February 9, 2012

FARMVILLE – Town Council looks forward to a March 20 joint meeting with Prince Edward County's Board of Supervisors but this time wants agenda items for discussion listed in advance by both governing bodies, with no deviation from the agenda.

Recently, joint meetings have been specifically agenda-less, intended to nurture stress-free dialogue between two governing bodies that have had moments of tension and stress in their relationship.

Town Manager Gerald Spates informed council members of the County's March 20 invitation during Wednesday night's February monthly meeting.

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The desire for an agenda is intended to spare either governing body from any “surprises” at the meeting.

Nothing should be discussed that isn't on the agenda, Town Council believes, hoping the County will agree to that provision.

“The County wants to have a joint luncheon with Council,” Spates said to a Town Council missing three members-Tommy Pairet, Otto S. Overton and Sally Thompson.

The agenda issue was driven by council member Dr. Edward I. Gordon. “Are we having no agenda to this? Agenda or no agenda?” he asked.

“Well, I don't know. If ya'll have some agenda items you want to discuss,” Spates said.

Mayor Sydnor C. Newman, Jr. said he believed it would be a good idea “if we could come up with a couple of things that we would like to discuss.”

Dr. Gordon then said, “the last few times that we've gone there (to a joint meeting) everybody did have some things they wanted to discuss. I don't know why each wouldn't come up with an agenda. It could be a loose agenda but I think it should be an agenda and then we should follow that agenda and not go outside of the agenda. Because this is supposed to be a friendly meeting, updating everything, without surprises, without anyone being put in uncomfortable situations and in the past we have come away sometimes uncomfortable. I don't want to be put in that situation again.

“I think it's very important that we do have this (a joint meeting). I like the idea of meeting with the County. But I don't like the idea of being in uncomfortable situations,” Dr. Gordon said. “So that if we're meeting we're obviously meeting for some reasons so I'd like to propose that we meet but that we each set up an agenda and that we don't go outside the agenda.”

Mayor Newman replied, “I think we ought to be able to do that.”

Council member Donald L. Hunter wondered about a time limit on the meeting.

“Yes, I think so,” Dr. Gordon said. “I think that's another good idea. I feel like, we're not going to be going in there with no ideas. If we sit down we'll be thinking of some ideas that we can loosely discuss. They're going to be doing the same and I think that needs to be brought out and I think we can have a very comfortable meeting that way, where one governmental body will tell the other governmental body things they want to know.”

Which will begin with the County telling the Town whether the agenda proposal and time limit are acceptable.

“Let's see if the County is in agreement with that,” Dr. Gordon said. “…I think that on both sides there's been not everybody totally happy…because of surprises that came up that they weren't prepared for and I feel like we can end that very easily…But there's been several times that we were overwhelmed by what took place, at least I was, and I don't want to leave with an uncomfortable situation.

“So I'd like this to be something that is productive and I think that a loose agenda would fit the bill. So we could suggest that to them and see if they're in agreement,” Dr. Gordon said.

Spates asked council members to provide his office with any suggested agenda items.

“And you want to limit the time, to try to keep it within a (set time-frame)?” Spates asked.

“Yeah, I think so. We all are in the middle of doing things (during the day) and I think all of us probably have to go some place. When you have a meeting,” Dr. Gordon said, “and somebody gets up there and keeps talking, talking, talking and you have to go some place.”

Town Clerk Lisa Hricko then asked Dr. Gordon what he means by a loose agenda.

“I don't think we have to get down to nitty-gritty, in other words,” Dr. Gordon said. “If they want to talk about Sandy River Reservoir, for instance. Say they want to talk about…Sandy River Reservoir. Don't deviate from that. That's fairly loose but let's not talk about wastewater and get into all sorts of proposals and things like that, unless they put that down that that's what they want to talk about.”

And that is where the discussion ended.