There was plenty of room for the Eau Claire’s City Council to fit into its temporary home for the next year as it held its first meeting on Monday in the county Courthouse, 721 Oxford. Ave.
While City Hall undergoes major interior renovations, the council wanted to keep its public meetings in Eau Claire’s downtown area and struck an agreement to use the boardroom at the county government building.
“We will be open and accessible and aim to encourage everyone to show up for the next year at this new place,” acting City Council President Andrew Werthmann said at the onset of Monday’s meeting.
A few folks from the general public showed up to Monday night’s meeting, including county Supervisor Sandra McKinney, who said she was curious how the smaller council would use the meeting room build for the 29-member County Board.
The City Council currently has 10 members and one vacancy until April. At City Hall, they sit at desks in a semicircle, facing the audience in the council chamber.
That arrangement isn’t possible in the county boardroom, which has a raised platform for a chairperson and a few staff members, facing desks where other county supervisors are seated.
Adapting to the new venue, Werthmann sat at the front of the room, flanked by City Manager Dale Peters and other city staffers. The other nine council members sat in the second row of desks usually used by county supervisors.
After getting comfortable and learning how to use the room’s microphone system — aided occasionally by county Clerk Janet Loomis, who attended Monday’s meeting to help with the room’s technology — the meeting went on pretty much as usual.