City should move committee meetings to Council Chambers

Two Cents Column

For those of you who don’t attend O’Fallon City Council committee meetings, you may not know that those meetings aren’t held in the Council Chambers at City Hall. No, they’re held at the Public Safety Building on Seven Hills Road. Why, you ask? That’s a good question.

I was told it was because the Mayor’s Conference Room, which is where the committee meetings used to be held, became too small and cramped. Ok, that makes sense. But why move to the Public Safety Building and not use the Council Chambers?

As someone who has attended some meetings at the Public Safety Building, I can tell you that it is significantly harder to hear what is being said there versus the Council Chambers. Additionally, at times, there are members of the committees sitting with their backs to the audience, rather than facing the audience as in the Council Chambers.

The Council Chambers were built to house those meetings and, yet, it sits empty except for two Monday nights a month.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just know that if its a City Council meeting it’ll be held at City Hall? Now, you have to know what meeting it is and find out where it’s being held.

I’d also think it would be easier for the staff. If a committee member has a question, all the staff would have to do is run to their office, located in the same building, and get the information.

One could also make the argument that by having the committee meetings in the Council Chambers, those meetings could then be broadcast on the city’s Charter channel. That way it opens up all Council meetings to the public, whether they are physically present or not.

It’s not that I have anything against the meeting room at the Public Safety Building. I just think, at least for City Council committee meetings, there is a better meeting space option being left unused and I would ask the members of the Council to consider moving their meetings to City Hall.