Rather than go through the arduous process of changing city code, the Hollister City Council opted via resolution to add one meeting per month to their schedule.
The additional meetings, which will begin at 6:30 p.m., will also have live, televised coverage from Community Media Access Partnership (CMAP), a nonprofit media group that records local government meetings.
City Clerk Christine Black said that the city IT department will record and post recordings on the city’s website if CMAP is unable to be present.
Hollister resident Salvador Mora said he was against special meetings because, as he understood it, he was worried the council might place specific items on the special meeting agendas in order to avoid public comments. Black clarified that the public can comment on any item on the agenda whether the meeting was regular or special.
The council added a public input item to the agenda of the approved special meetings since, unlike regular meetings, they normally don’t include an opportunity for members of the public to speak on off-agenda topics.
Councilman Marty Richman suggested placing public input at the start of the agenda, in case people do not have the opportunity to stay the entire meeting.
Richman, who was elected to the District 4 council seat in November, proposed having three council meetings per month on Dec. 17. Council members approved the recommendation on Jan. 14, which prompted city staff to put together a resolution.
“All the things that you were promised during this election by me and by other people, I intend to try to deliver,” said Richman at the Dec. 17 meeting. “I didn’t take this job to be a bump on a log.”
Despite being the driver behind this action, Richman suddenly left City Hall as the council prepared to vote on the resolution. It was approved 4-0.
Richman packed up his belongings and departed after Police Chief David Westrick approached the dais to tell him something.
Richman did not immediately respond for comment.
City Manager Bill Avera also left at the same time, but later returned to the meeting.
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