COVINGTON - The Covington City Council approved Monday night the first reading of an ordinance amendment to move its regular meeting time up an hour.
The council meets the first and third Mondays of every month at 7:30 p.m. The amendment would change the meeting time to 6:30 p.m.
Mayor Kim Carter had suggested the earlier time as a matter of convenience for staff and council members who work during the day and may be tired by the meeting's late start.
During a work session held earlier this month, Carter initially suggested the meeting time be moved to 6 p.m., which some council members said was too early.
Carter said she was thinking of "staff members who have worked 10 to 12 hours before we start the meeting."
City Council meetings typically last until 9:30 p.m. or later.
At the work session, Councilman John Howard opposed the time change, saying it might be inconvenient for the public.
But Carter pointed out public attendance is light at meetings, adding that anyone who has an item up for discussion on the agenda is "going to be there at 2 a.m. to represent their point."
Howard said the time could also be inconvenient for council members, staff and members of the public who want to get off work and eat dinner before the meeting starts.
On Monday night the council voted 4-2 to change the meeting time to 6:30 p.m., with Howard and Councilwoman Janet Goodman opposing.
The vote prompted Howard to pull out his city code book, where he found the 7:30 p.m. time listed.
Since the time is part of the code, an amendment must be passed, requiring two readings.
City Attorney Ed Crudup said Monday night's vote could constitute the first reading, with the second reading to take place Aug. 4.
The city ordinance requires public advertisement only prior to the second reading, he said.
The council indicted a desire Monday night to give the public ample notice of the time switch.
If the amendment is approved Aug. 4, it could go into effect by the Aug. 18 meeting, Crudup said.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.