Saturday, February 18, 2012

February 18, 2012 LeBel Reverses Course on Public Comments at City Council Meetings

Above (left or top) is the agenda format that Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, and Chris Bivens  voted for on first reading at the City Council meeting on February 7, 2012.  LeBel's Proposed Order of Business put all public comments near the end of the meeting---after all votes had been taken.  It also reduced the speaking time from three minutes to two minutes.

Mayor Danny Thomas, Gene Brooks, and Claude Jinks voted against the Lebel plan with Mayor Thomas mounting a vigorous push for more rather than less public input. Mayor Thomas even sent out a letter to voters to let them know about the LeBel-Senter-Garrett-Bivens move to put public comments after all votes were taken and to reduce speaking time to two minutes.

Above (right or bottom) is an amended Order of Business that will apparently be the one put forth by LeBel and company for second reading and public hearing on February 21, 2012, at 5 PM at the City Center.

After passing the "public at the end" format, it looks like LeBel had a change of heart or felt some constituent heat and amended his Order of Business to let the public speak on agenda items before any votes are taken and to make general comments at the end of the meeting.  Regardless of the reason for the change, it is a good move.

LeBel had gotten the public upset with his plan to put public comments at the end of council meetings. Kudos to LeBel for deciding to change his initial proposal before the final reading on February 21. 

Even with the amended Order of Business, LeBel-Senter-Garrett-Bivens are apparently still pushing to reduce the time allowed for a speaker to address an issue down to two minutes. But maybe that will be amended, too.

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