Starting in April, Corcoran residents can attend both the Corcoran City Council and Corcoran Unified School District (CUSD) board meetings which were previously held on the same night. Last Tuesday, members of the Corcoran City Council voted to change their board meetings from the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month to the first and third Tuesdays. Meetings held on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month coincided with the CUSD board meetings and members of the community had previously approached the council asking them to change their meeting dates so the public could attend both.
During Tuesday’s public forum portion of the meeting, Mary Gonzales-Gomez spoke to the council prior to the vote.
“Corcoran is a small rural community where most residents either become involved in their church, in their schools, in the local community activities and/or in the day-to-day city events. Some become involved in all the above. There is one great challenge that has surfaced in the last few years. The Corcoran Unified School District Board meetings and the Corcoran City Council meetings are scheduled at the same date and time. Both meetings take place on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. That schedule has created difficulty with some of our community members who are forced to choose which meeting to attend,” Gonzales-Gomez said. “One example is: At the last City Council meeting, some had hoped to attend the council meeting to listen to and support the update that was presented by Maricela Lerma. We were not able to do that because I was attending the Corcoran School Board meeting on the same night and at the same time. Our Corcoran community should not have to choose between two of our most important meetings in town. Corcoran is a community where numerous residents participate in multiple school and sports or community activities. Having the city council and the school district board meetings both on the same night has clearly become problematic for this small rural community.”
Councilmembers expressed concern with the city attorney being able to accommodate the change of it was made to a different night. However, it was noted that it while it may be a temporary imposition the attorney would make the necessary accommodations.
Councilmembers Greg Ojeda and Sid Palmerin were on board with making the change to allow the community to attend both meetings.
“We serve the community and we need to accommodate the change so they can attend both meetings,” Ojeda said.
Palmerin was in agreement stating that the way the meetings are set up now community members cannot attend both meetings and he didn’t see a problem with the change.
Mayor Pat Nolen suggested possibly surveying the community about the issue however, Palmerin noted that a survey wasn’t needed since they already knew residents couldn’t attend both meeting which happened on the same night at the same time.
Councilman Jerry Robertson was against the change.
“I personally do not prefer this choice. No matter what you do there is always going to be a conflict of some sort. Yes on occasion there is a hot issue here and a hot issue there but it has not proven to be a problem until now,” Robertson noted.
Vice Mayor Jeanette Zamora-Bragg suggested moving meetings to Monday or Wednesday which was echoed by Councilman Robertson. However, Mayor Pat Nolen said she had a conflict and could not attend Monday meetings.
After much discussion, Councilman Ojeda made a motion to move the meetings to the first and third Tuesday of the month and it was seconded by Councilman Palmerin. The change passed on a 3-2 vote with Ojeda, Palmerin and Nolen voting yes while Robertson and Zamora-Bragg voted no.
City Manager Greg Gatzka suggested the change take place starting in April.