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Batavia City Council changes committee system

BATAVIA – The Batavia City Council’s four standing committees will start meeting as a joint committee in part to help the six newly elected aldermen get up to speed on issues facing the city.

Aldermen discussed the issue at Monday’s first joint committee meeting. The four committees – Public Utilities, Community Development, Government Services and City Services – will continue to be chaired by one of the aldermen.

Several aldermen voiced concerns about switching to a joint committee system. First Ward Alderman Garran Sparks was worried the new system would cut down on discussion of issues.

“I’m afraid things will get pushed through,” Sparks said. “There won’t be enough discussion because of the time constraints.”

The Batavia City Council will continue to meet on the first and third Monday of every month, and the joint committee will meet four times a month on Tuesdays. Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke had proposed changing the City Council’s committee structure to help the newly elected aldermen get educated on a variety of issues.

First Ward Alderman Michael O’Brien also voiced concerns.

“We don’t discuss things enough,” he said. “I think the committee system we have now has been working.”

But 5th Ward Alderman Lucy Thelin Atac was in support of joint committee meetings.

“I think all of us will be on the ground floor for each discussion,” she said.

In addressing concerns from some aldermen about meetings going too long, Schielke said a meeting always could be continued if need be.

“We will review the process kind of as it unfolds,” Schielke said.

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