Hill: Meetings are just the start of council members’ work

The Fort Dodge City Council meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, but participating in those sessions is just one part of an elected official’s job, according to Councilman Dean Hill.

Going to other kinds of meetings, reading documents, responding to residents’ phone calls and emails, and visiting project sites are also major components of a councilman’s job, he said. Hill estimates that he spends up to 25 hours a week on city business.

He offers this advice for anyone thinking of running for City Council this year: ”Research it good before deciding because it is time-consuming, but yet it is very rewarding.”

Each member of the council serves on three of the governing body’s committees. Hill, for instance, is a member of the Boards and Commissions, Public Safety and Utilities committees. He said committee meetings aren’t held very often. He added that council members also periodically attend joint meetings with the Webster County Board of Supervisors.

There is a continual flow of telephone calls and emails to which council members must respond. He said he’s received phone calls regarding all kinds of things, including snow plowing, the condition of alleys and overgrown yards.

”Any more, you’re not surprised by anything,” he said.

Each situation that’s brought to his attention has to be handled separately, he said. In some cases, he said, a solution that satisfies the person who called can’t be found.

”There are some people you’re just not going to make happy no matter what you do,” he said.

Hill said he spends time each summer visiting the sites of street construction projects to see the progress. Those visits, combined with an increase in calls from residents, makes summer the busiest time of the year, he said.