Sedalia City Council meetings will now start with a pre-council work session like they always have, but now the regular meeting will begin as soon as the work session is completed, it was announced Monday night.

“This was Kelvin's idea,” said Mayor John Kehde, referring to City Administrator Kelvin Shaw. All future meetings will begin upstairs at 6:30 p.m., and take as much time as needed to take care of business, which frequently includes various presentations from department heads or guest speakers, as well as discussion on proposed ordinances and committee reports. The regular Council meeting will then begin, whatever time that might be.

The new meeting schedule twist was agreed upon by the full Council Monday night. Previously, if the work session fell short of the allotted time, there would be a gap before the regular session started at 7. If it ran long, speakers might feel the need to cut their discussion short in time for the regular meeting to begin sharply at 7 p.m., Shaw noted.

He further explained that it was always hard to estimate how much time to schedule for any given Monday night work session to ensure there was not too little or too much time allotted for the pre-council agenda.

Councilman Bob Cross expressed concern that on those nights when the regular meeting starts before 7, some citizens may miss the start of the proceedings.

Mayor Kehde noted that when renovation of the Council chambers is complete in September or October, the work session and the regular meeting will both take place downstairs, beginning at 6:30 on the first and third Mondays of the month at the Municipal Building, 200 South Osage. The public is invited to attend.

“My goal is to have everything downstairs,” Kehde explained.

In addition, the City's Community Development Department is being removed from Public Works and will now exist as its own committee and will enlist the help of four Council members, Kehde said. The other committees (Public Safety, Public Works and Finance/Administration) will have three Council members serve and oversee activities. This will allow for “more focus,” Shaw explained.

In the photo: Sedalia Mayor John Kehde poses for a photo just prior to Monday night's City Council meeting. At left is City Administrator Kelvin Shaw.