Members of Winston-Salem’s city council opted to move up their regular meeting time by one hour, despite survey results showing most city residents were against the change.
The survey, conducted earlier this month, showed over 57 percent of respondents were against moving the meeting time from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. Council went forward with the change anyway, with only Councilmember James Taylor voting no.
At a committee meeting last week, City Manager Lee Garrity said the adjustment was necessary in order to recruit and retain talent for senior staff positions.
“I mean, in the last six weeks, I personally have dealt with two situations with senior staff where either we were trying to get them to come or trying to keep them. Both indicated in this Triad market where they could go to other communities and not have to spend as much time at night working here, they were choosing to do that," Garrity said.
Several members of the public spoke out against the proposal at the meeting, saying it would prevent working community members from participating in local government. Resident Arnita Miles said the move demonstrated a lack of respect for the opinions of the public.
“Do you listen? Not only to me. Do you listen to the citizens that elected you? The record speaks for itself," said Miles. "You didn't listen to the 57.4 on that survey about changing the meeting times.”
The new meeting time goes into effect on February 1.