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Meeting marathon: Sunlight late at night

August 20. 2018 9:47PM

Manchester Board of School Committee member David Scannell makes a good point when he says “sunshine is pretty damn scarce at 1 in the morning.”

Scannell argues that citizens have a harder time paying attention to the board when meetings drag on past midnight. This forces citizens interested in later agenda items to wait for hours, or go home before the item is even discussed.

Scannell also says the marathon sessions lead to frayed nerves and poor decisions from board members.

Scannell wants to add a rule that would allow the board to limit debate on a topic, which he believes would move things along.

If there’s a particularly complex or controversial topic that requires lengthy debate, the board could take as much time as necessary. But limiting debate ahead of time would allow the board to focus its priorities, and give the public a better grasp on the board’s agenda.

Ultimately, the efficiency of any deliberative body comes down to the willingness of its members to avoid unnecessary squabbling. Scannell’s proposal could lead to shorter meetings, and is worth a try.

Schools Local and County Government Editorial Manchester

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