Currently, and for some years, the Vero Beach City Council has alternated between day and night meetings. At its Nov. 20 meeting, the Council voted 4-1 t to approve newly-elected Council member Val Zudans’ motion to move all regular Council meeting to evenings.
Because the Council acted without first publicizing the move, the motion will have to again be considered when the Council meets next on Dec. 5.
In a news analysis story published this week, the island weekly reported on Zudans’ clumsy attempt to change the Council’s meeting schedule. For a newspaper that has in the past been highly skeptical of the veracity of many a politician, it was surprising to see the island weekly take Zudans at his word regarding his rational for not holding day meetings. “Councilman Val Zudans called for the change so more young people and those with full-time jobs can fully participate in city business,” wrote island weekly reporter Lisa Zahner.
Given Zudans’ history of service, or more accurately, his non-service on the City’s Planning and Zoning Board, it seems likely his motivation for eliminating day meetings has less to do with increasing public participation, and more to do with accommodating the good doctor’s own work schedule.
When Zudans was appointed to the P&Z last spring, he promptly proposed moving meetings to the evenings to, in his own words, accommodate his work schedule at the Florida Eye Institute. (It was reported during the campaign that Zudans schedules surgeries on Tuesdays.) The P&Z declined to move its meetings times for Zudans’ convenience. Soon thereafter, he stopped attending the Board’s meetings, remaining a no-show for much of the remainder of his term.
In reality, many night Council meetings run quite late, with public participation dwindling with each passing hour. If Zudans some day moves on to the County Commission, one wonders if he will attempt to move the Commission’s meetings to nights. That Board currently holds all of its regular meetings during the day. If Zudans were to join the Florida Legislature, would he propose that the state’s governing body meet at night? Where will this end?