City Council Meeting Process

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Colleen Pate
Posts: 113
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2023 1:22 pm

City Council Meeting Process

Post by Colleen Pate »


I’m proud of the work that we’ve accomplished together, and I’m looking forward to our continued work. As we seek to achieve our shared goal of conducting effective and efficient City Council Meetings, I want to propose a couple of ideas.

In trying to be efficient, but I don’t want to miss recognizing Council Members who want to speak on an item. I’m working with my staff to create a system that will better ensure that I don’t miss the opportunity to recognize each of you on the dais. Here are a few thoughts that I have that I know might help:

1.) If you know you will want to make brief remarks on the consent agenda or any other specific item, please try to let Colleen know in advance. I’ll put it in my meeting notes, and I’ll be sure to recognize you. I know that there will be times this is not practical. Let’s just do the best we can. There will certainly be exceptions at the last minute.
2.) If you know you have questions on a proposed amendment, please let me (or Colleen) know in advance, if possible, and I will recognize you.
3.) Typically, remarks on an item, discussion and/or questions come after a motion has a second and after amendments. Discussion or questions on the proposed amendment occur after the second on a motion to amend and before the vote on the amendment. The discussion on the main motion (as amended, if relevant) would be after all the amendments, if any, and before a vote is called. I will try to do a better job of being sure to pause. Please anticipate and expect that this will be the time I will recognize Members to speak. If I don’t have you in my notes from you giving me previous notice or it looks like I might miss calling on you, don’t hesitate to signal me or verbally ask to be recognized. In summary: a) main motion, second of main motion, discussion, vote. Or b) main motion, second of main motion, motion to amend, second on motion to amend, discussion of motion to amend, vote on motion to amend, back to main motion as amended, discussion on main motion as amended, vote on main motion as amended.

I also want to suggest that we utilize our work sessions to discuss items that may be pulled off the consent agenda for amendment at the following Thursday Council Meeting. This allows the author time to prepare an updated version of the item ahead of the Thursday Council Meeting. This process will also allow the Agenda Office and the City Clerk’s Office to distribute accurate and updated resolutions to the Council and to the public.

I understand that there may be ideas or thoughts that arise after the work session. That’s going to happen and, of course, it’s okay. But it would be good to have a goal of knowing about potential amendments on Tuesday. That includes those potential amendments that are still in the stage of “I’m just thinking about this”.

If the author wants to include the amendment in a new “version” of the proposal, let’s aim for having a deadline for the new version be 6:00pm on Wednesday. This will allow adequate time for the new version to be put in late back up, for all of Council to see it, and to make it available for the public. In this case, an item that was on consent probably can go back on consent.

If the 6:00pm Wednesday deadline can’t be met (and there will obviously be times that it can’t because someone has a new thought or whatever), we will use the existing “version” on Thursday and make any changes to it by amendments that will be offered on Thursday. We’ll do this even if the author is fine with the amendment and would have made it part of a new version if there had been time.

In the event that amendments to an item will be offered on Thursday morning, I suggest that all proposed amendments be circulated by 9:30am. This will allow Council to review them prior to the start of the meeting and it will allow the Agenda Office and the Clerk’s Office to distribute the information to the public. Again, there will be exceptions that are necessary, and they will be recognized and accommodated. But this would be our goal.

Thank you. I appreciate your consideration.


On behalf of Mayor Watson
Chief of Staff, Mayor Watson's Office