Plans to take regular meetings of the Clay County Board of Commissioners on the road have been nixed, board members reported Monday.
A push led by Commissioner and Clay City resident Daryl Andrews to improve the board's accessibility to southern-county residents hit a snag when board members learned that Indiana law places firm restrictions on where the board holds its meetings.
The news means the commissioners will not proceed with tentatively-scheduled meetings in Center Point and Clay City. The board voted instead to re-schedule its next three meetings with a 6 p.m. start time, extending a hand to county residents at work during the board's usual Monday-morning sessions.
"What we're doing is trying to encourage people to attend who couldn't during normal business hours," he said.
State statute dictates that executive-level county government meetings must be conducted at the county seat: The Clay County Courthouse in Brazil. The statute rules out the possibility of staging board of commissioners meetings in alternate locations within the county, Board President Charlie Brown said.
"It's just not possible to do," said Brown.
"If it's just general county business, it needs to be in the courthouse," County Attorney Eric Somheil added.
The board voted Monday to hold its June, July and August meetings at 6 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the preceding month (the June meeting is now slated for May 30, the July meeting for June 27 and the August meeting for July 25).
Brown said the shift in meeting times is not set in stone. The board will gauge citizen response to the new schedule before making any permanent scheduling decisions.
"This is not going to be the norm. This is going to be a trial to see how it works," he said. "If it doesn't go over, there's no sense in continuing it."