The spirit of open meetings is to give members of the public opportunities to comment on matters that affect them and to watch the legislative process in progress. In order for this to happen, the governing body needs to meet at a time when the greatest portion of the community can attend those meetings. The vast majority of the voting public is at work when the McPherson City Commission meets at 8:30 a.m. Mondays, creating an impediment for many McPherson residents to attend. During a town hall meeting on Oct. 24, a resident suggested the commission meet during the evening so more residents could attend. As city officials pointed out, meeting during the day has some advantages. City workers can take immediate action on items passed on Monday mornings, and city staff are available during regular business hours. These are both valid points. However, this is not compelling enough to completely throw out the idea of night meetings. Twelve hours is not a significant amount of time to delay implementation of commission action, and special day-time meetings always can be conducted to take care of emergency business. Any night work can be a hardship on the families of city staff and public officials, but it is minimal compared to the benefit of greater access the night meetings would grant to the McPherson community. Other businesses give their employees comp time when they have to work nights or weekends, eliminating the need to increase payroll. The city could consider a compromise in which the commission would meet every other week at night. Meeting at night could create opportunities for more candidates to run for city commission as in the past candidates may not have run because they knew they could not attend the meetings. Many city commissions in other Kansas communities meet in the evening as does the McPherson school board. It is clear it can be done. A second alternative would be to create a regular slate of town hall meetings. This is a very useful tool and would be encouraged in lieu of night meetings. However, town hall meetings cover specific topics established by the city officials and does not allow for the same level of free and open discourse that would be created by moving city commission meetings to an evening time. Moving the time of a long-standing meeting, such as the city commission, is not something to be taken lightly. However, in the spirit of open access, night meetings for the city commission should be considered more thoroughly.