• Last modified 560 days ago (Sept. 7, 2017)


Minute by minute

Official record of 30-minute argument takes 30 minutes to approve

Staff writer

Commissioners spent half an hour split across two meetings jousting about minutes that included an argument between Dianne Novak and EMS director Ed Debesis, leading to a discussion over the purpose of minutes and one commissioner suggesting a shorter official record.

Novak objected to the portrayal of a 30-minute argument during Debesis’ presentation Aug. 21 focused on her public comments on EMS, especially overtime pay.

“As the minutes are written, everything is pretty much slanted to Mr. Debesis,” Novak said Aug. 28. “There was very little mention of anything that I brought up.”

Novak asked for more of a word-for-word style in the minutes.

“If the board wants to do that because it’s important to Dianne, that is fine, I can do that,” Spencer said. “It’s just not typical format.”

Spencer said she only includes conversations if they lead up to actions.

“It has never been my practice to put in entire conversations that don’t pertain to those actions,” Spencer said, unless if the meeting is a public hearing.

She said the minutes are the commission’s official historical record and asked how much detail commissioners want included.

Commissioner Kent Becker said he has been on several boards and the minutes only included legal actions.

“Our minutes probably should be shorter than they are now,” he said. “Quite a bit shorter.”

Novak said that without the additions, the minutes were neither fair nor balanced.

“The original minutes I truly believe were very slighted,” Novak said.

“They just had the points that were brought,” Spencer replied. “The specific statement that was brought.”

Novak said the amendments give a more accurate representation of her side of the argument.

“There aren’t sides,” Spencer said.

She said she works hard on the minutes to have them done in a timely fashion.

“I’ve never had it be the whole meeting just to approve the minutes,” Spencer said.

“I don’t think we have ever had a whole meeting yet,” Novak said.

“No, I’m exaggerating,” Spencer replied.

Novak wasn’t finished after Spencer added her amendments. She asked for one more change — that no pay schedule ever existed in any previous meeting minutes, nor was one ever voted on, but discussions did take place.

“There was nothing in writing, there was nothing voted on, there’s nothing in the minutes,” Novak said.

Last modified Sept. 7, 2017