Anyone interested in city politics will soon be able to watch how Casper City Council meetings are planned. While the agendas have historically been set in private between the city manager, mayor and vice mayor, they will now be tacked onto the end of the Council’s work sessions.
“There is a lot going on and being discussed there that never comes to the rest of us,” said Councilman Chris Walsh during Tuesday’s work session.
“It blindsides us, and it’s human reaction to get annoyed at it,” he added.
Although the councilman said he does not believe there is any intention to leave others out of the loop, Walsh said some information inevitably ends up being overlooked.
Walsh then suggested that the agenda could be planned out at the end of the Council’s work sessions so all members could be involved with the process.
Councilman Dallas Laird quickly voiced support for the idea.
“I don’t think any councilman should have the opportunity to be more informed than other councilmen,” he explained.
Adding that he had dropped by one of these planning sessions, Laird said he also had concerns that they were not open to the press and public.
Moving the meetings will be a “big change,” said Vice Mayor Charlie Powell. There is a long-standing tradition of the Council’s mayor and vice mayor meeting with the city manager to set the agenda.
However, Powell and Mayor Ray Pacheco said they were open to testing out the idea.
City Manager Carter Napier said Wednesday that is common practice throughout Wyoming for city council leaders to meet with the city manager to plan out the next meeting’s agenda because it tends to be the most time-efficient method.
“Sometimes it is difficult to get nine people to settle on a direction,” he said.
But if it’s important to the Council to include everyone, then Napier said he is fully on board.
Powell was concerned that planning the agenda after a three-to four-hour work session could extend the meeting too late. But he then reiterated there was no harm in trying.
“We’ll see how it works ... I’m always willing to try things that other Council members suggest,” he said.