Aldermen Pass New Rules for Public Participation

January 1, 2013
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The Board of Aldermen last week passed new rules for the public participation period, in an effort to allow the body to have guidelines for public speakers.

The new rules were offered by Alderman Charles DiPerri, who said that he decided to offer guidance on public participation to aid the President of the Board in mediating public discourse in the chamber. DiPerri said that the new rules are not an attempt to silence or censor members of the public, but to encourage respectful, constructive public participation.

Among the new rules that will be enforced for public participation at Aldermen’s meetings: 1) public participation has been moved to the end of the meeting; 2) residents who would like to address the Board will have to sign in at the beginning of the meeting and list the topic they wish to discuss; 3) a two minute maximum speaking time will be enforced when there are several speakers; 4) speakers cannot use the period to endorse or oppose political candidates or for other political purposes; 5) all comments are to be addressed to the president of the board; and 6) speakers cannot use the period for commercial or personal gain.

There was little discussion about the new rules, but a few minor amendments were made to clarify the intent of the rules.

The new rules on public participation are expected to go into effect at the next meeting of the Board of Aldermen in January  2013.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.flood.798 David Flood

    For the last two weeks, the Independent has been reporting that public participation at the Board of Aldermen meetings will be moved to the end of the meeting. This is not true. Public participation will continue to be scheduled to be held at the same exact point in the meeting, after Public Hearings and before Communications from His Honor The Mayor. In fact, public participation was given its own section on the agenda that falls between those other two sections.

    Since the original proposal to change the Aldermen’s rules was printed in its entirety on the last two Board of Aldermen agendas, it is hard to fathom where this misinformation came from.

    The Common Council currently has a Public Participation rule change pending in the Rules & Ordinances Committee. Hopefully, the Council will adopt an identical or, at least, a very similiar public participation rule to the Aldermen’s rule in order to minimize any confusion for the public on how public participation is to be held.