Why This Blog?

The aim of this blog is to fit into the blogosphere like the bracingly tart taste of yogurt fits between the boringly bland and the unspeakably vile.

All comments will be answered if their author provides contact info.


I have no sponsoring group(s) or agencies, and I owe no allegiance to any candidate or group.

(C) Copyright 2012 DenRita Enterprises

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mayor enforces rules to get City's business completed

Rules for meetings

Robert’s Rules of Order “. . . provides for constructive and democratic meetings, to help, not hinder, the business of the assembly.” Rules and laws have evolved to help assure fairness – and to open government processes to the citizens served. Some were prompted by disasters; e.g. the Bell fiasco.

Without rules . . .

Imagine the potential for a Council to wait for stormy day, with few or no observers, then to introduce a pay raise for themselves. No objections would be offered (because people were home out of the storm).

Or, imagine a developer who wanted to avoid opposition to his project; he could just comment for four or five hours until the opponents departed, then make his unopposed presentation.

Or consider the Council member who wanted to “pave the vernal ponds.” She could wait until just before a restroom break, then slip in a motion to “approve project 6175, on the OCPTS schedule per the LOBEEBAR as amended January 14, 2011, for a price of $650,000.” 

If her buddy seconded the motion, and the other members were distracted by their interest in the upcoming break, the measure could pass. No one would have time to research the motion, or to understand it.

Rules protect citizens

So, rules say the City must publish the Council’s agenda two weeks in advance, and consider only items on that agenda. The citizens then have the opportunity to research and understand the items on the agenda.

Some people come to Council meetings to appeal a citation or to ask for Council help – a cracked sidewalk that isn't being repaired for instance. They and the people who want to broadcast their opinions about anything get to speak – or sing or curse as they may prefer – before the items on the agenda are discussed.

Address agenda items too

Citizens and visitors may speak about agenda items as well, and many of the frequent speakers offer opinions on almost everything on every agenda. However, while any specific item is being discussed, they can only speak about that item. This keeps debate and discussion focused on the agenda item.

Council members or visitors can “pullindividual items from the Consent Calendar – which is deliberated and passed as a parcel – for discussion. Consent items are typically routine matters like paying bills, funding the period’s payroll, and such, that don’t usually require debate.

A tactic used in the past was to extend the meeting by pulling many Consent items for discussion. This left presenters for new and old business, City staff, and citizens who were interested in the new and old business waiting, sometimes for hours. We've observed that most often, the visitors who preached and complained departed shortly after speaking. Generally, they still do.

Delays moved to the end of the meeting

Currently, up to ten individual speakers are heard before the agenda; the rest are heard after all other business has been conducted. All discussion on “pulledConsent items is heard after the Council’s other scheduled business as well. That is, prolonged discussion of a consent item doesn’t delay the main business of the Council.
This seems like a civil and organized manner of conducting City business.

The Mayor is charged with following and enforcing these rules, and for getting City business completed.

No comments:

Post a Comment