RIVERSIDE – Change appeared to be the theme of Monday's meeting of the Riverside Village Board.
The first order of business for the board was to revise its composition. The newly elected village president and trustees were sworn into office and took their seats.
One of the first things the new board tackled was to amend its meeting schedule. Rather than gather on the first and third Monday of each month, Village Board members will now hold their meetings on the first and third Thursday of each month. The one exception will be this month as board members will meet on May 23 instead of May 16.
"And there is also a change in our summer schedule," said Village Clerk Cathy Haley. "We used to only meet on the first Monday of the month in July, August and September. But the other change the board made was that we'll continue meeting twice a month during the summer instead of once a month like we used to."
Ben Sells was elected village president during the April 9 consolidated election and began his new role during Monday's meeting. He said the meeting schedule was changed to allow trustees more time to review the agenda and confer with staff members before they meet as a board.
"The way we had been doing it was that the agenda would come out on a Friday," Sells said. "Under the former schedule, trustees would have the agenda over the weekend. Then they only had Monday to speak with staff members if they had questions. That didn't [allow] us all that much time to get answers to our questions."
Under the new schedule, the agenda will still be put out on Friday, Sells said. But now board members will have until the following Thursday to review the agenda and question staffers about specific issues, he said.
Sells said this new procedure dovetails with a revised method of presenting staff reports. Trustees served as liaisons to various departments and would read reports prepared by staff members, he said. Trustees often had to ask questions about the reports they were presenting, Sells said.
But now staff reports will be read at board meetings by department heads, who will be in a better position to explain points during their presentations, Sells said.
"The idea is to try and have a better interaction between the Village Board and staff members, to tap into their creativity and knowledge," Sells said. "The job of the Village Board is to set policy, and the job of the staff is to implement that policy. They are the professionals, and we believe this new process will be more efficient."