Sunday, January 23, 2011

Councilman opposes moving meetings for religious holidays 

Government meetings are being shuffled around to accommodate religious holidays, prompting at least one elected official to question if a change in policy might be warranted.

“I mean no disrespect to anybody or any religion,” Beverly Hills Councilman John Mooney said. “My position has always been that only national holidays should cause a cancellation in any type of business being done by this government.”

His fellow council members disagreed, voting 5-2 Tuesday to reschedule two village meeting dates in 2011 to accommodate the Jewish holidays of Passover and Rosh Hashanah.

“You don't want to intermingle religion with government, but my perception is that Beverly Hills has a significant population of Jewish residents,” Councilman Todd Stearn said. “For them not to be able to participate in the council meetings on Rosh Hashanah particularly, I think is a disservice to the residents.”

Councilman Doug Prew also voted against the motion, for the same reason as Mooney.

Birmingham officials went through a similar exercise last year when one of their meeting dates fell on the first night of Passover. Since then, the city opted to follow a meeting schedule that manages to avoid 24 religious holidays.

Christmas is one of 10 national holidays set by law.


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