…and it’s probably one of the most detailed you’ll find in local government.
Anyone who has ever been to a Kanawha County commissioners’ meeting has likely seen the lengthy agendas that can be in excess of 10 pages long. In fact, for the most recent commission meeting on Aug. 27, the agenda totaled 18 pages.
Each agenda lists items to be discussed as well as detailed fiduciary and budget orders and any other action the commissioners are considering taking.
This contrasts with most local government agendas, which are short and provide little detail.
Commission President Kent Carper has said the lengthy agendas are important for keeping the public informed of the county’s business.
Last month, Carper sent county representatives to meet with Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Department staff to develop a more detailed agenda, similar to the format the county uses. The agenda change came after the latest fiasco at the parks department, in which an unlicensed contractor illegally timbered land at Coonskin Park after being approved by the Parks Commission to do the work.
State law is relatively silent on how specific agendas must be. According to the West Virginia Ethics Commission,
“Agendas must give reasonable notice to the public of what issues will be discussed. Specifically, any matter requiring the governing body to take official action must be listed on the agenda. For example, “filling position of office manager” would be sufficient. Use of vague headings such as “old business” and “new business” is clearly insufficient. The public should also be given notice of significant additions or changes to the agenda, as noted above. Each governing body should have rules on how such notice will be given.”
Other than that, there isn’t a set standard for how an agenda must be written.
Below is a typical Kanawha County commission agenda. This one is from the last commission meeting on Aug. 27:
And here’s last month’s Parks Commission agenda:
For comparison, here’s the Parks Commission agenda from its July meeting, before county representatives met with the parks department: