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Cicero pre-agenda workshops suspended

During the "board comments" session of the May 26 Cicero Town Board meeting, Supervisor Judy Boyke announced that the town would no longer host Tuesday afternoon pre-agenda workshops.

"They were very good and very effective," Boyke said.

The sessions are no longer needed, according to Boyke, who said the pre-agenda workshops were a good "learning tool" for her and the two new board members.

Boyke credited the "smooth routine" of the Wednesday night town board meetings to the pre-agenda workshops.

"We're getting information from department heads before the Wednesday night meeting," Boyke said. "This way we are not pushing things to the next meeting when information is not available during a town meeting."

During the May 26 meeting, Boyke encouraged department heads to take a glance at the agenda and field any questions, if possible, on Monday or Tuesday before the meeting. The same goes for the matter of making addiontal information available to the town board prior to the Wednesday night meetings, she said.

Some Cicero department heads attended the pre-agenda workshops at times, but only one town councilor opted to attend any of the sessions held since they were first established almost five months ago.

"After fighting these meetings since January of 2010 I was very pleased to see they will be discontinued," said Jim Corl, the sole town councilor to not attend any workshop sessions. "This will allow the public to hear all discussion before votes are taken on issues that come before the board."

Boyke said the Tuesday sessions were intended for discussion that may only be necessary to clear up confusion on an agenda item, not to keep information from residents who only attend the Wednesday town board meetings.

Corl said the pre-agenda sessions made the regular board meetings a "mere formality" since many residents were unable to attend the workshops. He also added that the lack of meeting minutes from this session appeared to be a problem when making discussion during the workshops public to residents unable to attend the Tuesday workshops.

Cicero resident Deborah V. Gardner videotaped the Tuesday pre-agenda workshops, although they were not posted on the town website. Gardner had stated at previous town board meetings that she would make the information available to people who requested it.

While the workshops have been suspended, Boyke said she would only reinstate the sessions if she thought they were necessary.

The next Cicero Town Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. June 9 at Cicero Town Hall, 8236 S. Main St.

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