Member Stuart Yocum didn’t pull any punches as he offered self-criticism of the Kingman City Council during its February 2 meeting. Yocum said the Council has to conduct city business in a more timely manner.
Citing a 7 ¼ hour-long December meeting that snored to adjournment at 12:45 a.m., and other sessions stretching “ridiculously” long, Yocum called for focus and efficiency.
“This Council has become the Council of far too much talk and far too little action,” Yocum said. “We’re exhausting and we’re testing our staff’s and the resident’s patience by making them sit here incessantly as we continue to talk and talk and talk and debate stuff. I don’t know for what reason we continue to procrastinate and postpone and table and kick the can down the road.”
Yocum got no argument from his Councilmates. They’ve agreed by concensus to work to better construct agendas, manage flow of discussion and implement protocols designed to promote meeting efficiency.
Yocum’s notion of putting democracy on a timer, however, fell on deaf ears. Yocum floated, without support, the notion of adjourning meetings by 9:00 p.m., saying the Council should always be able to complete at least 95% of its business in 3 ½ hours.
Other Council members did not wish to impose a mandatory adjournment time, particularly Kenneth Dean, who was appointed to the Council last November.
“I’m the newbie. I’m the rookie up here. This is all new to me. I’m analytical and I like a lot of information to make a decision, so I may ask a lot of questions,” Dean said. “I don’t like putting a stipulation (adjournment time) on anything. That creates pressure…I’m willing to stay here as long as it takes.”
Yocum said Council members should make sure they come prepared rather than stretching meetings with questions and discussion that can take place in advance. He said he understood the need to take time to get things right, but insisted the Council must shorten meetings and quit vacillating and flip-flopping in the decision-making process.
“The longer we perpetuate this dynamic and the more we continue going down this path, all we’re doing is giving ammunition to those residents who are of the mindset that government is slow and inefficient and doesn’t get stuff done,” Yocum said. “It seems to me that this council has been doing a lot of that.”