In an attempt to accommodate residents, the City Council this week voted 3 to 2 to have City Administrator A. J. Wilson study ways of extending City Hall's operating hours.
Wilson will confer with the city employees' association on schedule changes that would open City Hall at 8 a.m. and keep it open on some evenings. City Hall now is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Immediately before directing Wilson to study extended City Hall hours, the council narrowly rejected a motion by Councilman C. L. (Clay) Bryant to open City Hall for business at 8 a.m.
Bryant argued at Monday's council meeting that residents begin lining up outside City Hall at 8. He accused city employees, who arrive at 8 a.m. but don't open their offices to the public until 9, of goldbricking when they should be serving those residents who have to be at work by 9. "They've got to get out and earn a living while our people are sitting in there doing their nails and yakking," Bryant said.
On both votes, Councilwoman Nell Soto sided with Bryant, while Mayor Donna Smith and Councilmen E. J. (Jay) Gaulding and Mark A. T. Nymeyer opposed him. Gaulding chided Bryant for unfairly maligning the city's staff.