Late-night sessions are no way to run a city, and disrespectful to residents who are expected to stay up late: Councillor Linda Annis
Surrey, B.C. (June 30, 2021): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis wants council meetings to “end at a reasonable hour” rather than stretching to 1:00 A.M. as it did on Monday night. Annis says she will table a notice of motion at the next council meeting calling for more reasonable council hours, rather than pulling council’s version of “an all-nighter” that goes well past midnight.
“Is anyone really at their best at 1:00 A.M.?”, asked Annis. “Even worse, we force our residents who have an interest in an issue to stick around later and later, and frankly that’s just disrespectful and no way to run a council meeting. I want to ask our staff to come up with some options that allow more time for public engagement and to structure our meetings so that we can wrap up at say 10:00 P.M., rather than going long past midnight.”
Annis said as the city grows and council gets busier there has to be a more productive way of getting things done and decisions made rather than making people stay up later and later.
“I’m no Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel, so using late-nights as the only way of dealing with the growing volume of city business seems old school to me,” explained Annis. “If something is important enough to come before council then we should give it our full attention and allow the community to speak to it at a reasonable hour. Frankly, we need a process that has other options than forcing people to stay up until 1:00 A.M.”
In addition to a new way of doing council business that eliminates late-night sessions, Annis wants city hall to look at revising its business hours, giving residents better and more flexible times to visit city hall.
“The only people doing banker’s hours anymore is city hall, not even banks have banker’s hours these days,” said Annis. “City Hall is only open weekdays until 4:30 P.M. Does that really work for anyone’s schedule in 2021? Why aren’t we open later, or on weekends? Whether it’s forcing people to stay up until 1:00 A.M., or limiting hours at city hall, I think we need to take a good look at how we operate these days and ask ourselves if we’re really making things easier for our residents.”
Councillor Linda Annis