Facing pressure from citizens, the Chelsea Area Fire Authority (CAFA) changed its board meeting start time from 9 am to the evening.
“My feeling on it is since the public is asking for it at this point, we give it a try in the other direction, that we do try evening hours and see,” Board Member Shauna Mote said.
The board had been meeting on the third Tuesday of each month at 9 am. Now, starting in October 2016, the board will meet on the fourth Tuesday at 7 pm. The location will remain at the Chelsea City Council Chambers.
“Evening would be way, way better,” Board Member Peter Feeney said. “City council meets in the evening, almost everyone meets in the evening.”
With major issues facing CAFA in the immediate future that include finding an interim and permanent chief to replace the retiring James Payeur and the need for an additional firefighter as well as perpetual problems like continued budget deficits and dwindling cash reserves, citizens pressured the CAFA board to changes its meeting start time to accommodate those who had daytime obligations, such as a job, and were unable to attend the meetings.
“Whatever is going to improve CAFA, I’m in favor of,” Board Member Kurt Koseck said.
However, the change is only a test run at this point. At its Aug. 16 meeting, the board approved the meeting day and time change from October through only the beginning of the new year. Based on concerns raised by Board Member Craig Maier that there still may not be a strong public turnout for evening meetings, the board will again address the issue at its January meeting. The board usually sets its meeting schedule for the year in January.
“By then we would have a pretty good idea whether it will work or not, at least for the short term,” Mote said. Feeney agreed. “If it turns into a clunker, then we can always change it back, change it to something else,” he said.
The first evening board meeting for CAFA will be Oct. 25.