bloggin' all things brownsville

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ordinance Amendment Concerning Agenda Preparation, Conduct and Public Comment at City Meetings on Next Agenda

UPDATED TO REFLECT BACK-UP FOR AGENDA ITEM ON ORDINANCE AMENDMENT

The City Commission agenda for Tuesday's 6 p.m. agenda is out. For the full agenda, click here.

One item of interest sticks out for me:

Public Hearing and ACTION on FIRST READING of Ordinance Number 2008-1090-E to amend Ordinance Number 2007-1090-D of the City Code of Ordinances regarding the preparation of agendas, the conduct of City Commission meetings, public comment and dealing with related matters. (James R. Goza – City Attorney)

In other words, quit yer misbehavin', folks! There are several proposed changes to this ordinance. Here's what's highlighted in the agenda binder for "CONDUCT":

CONDUCT OF MAYOR AND COMMISSIONERS
If any member of the City Commission makes comments of a personal nature, or in any other manner disrupts the orderly conduct of business, in the course of discussion or action on a given Agenda Item, any member of the City Commission may call the behavior to the attention of the disruptive member, who must cease said behavior. Should the City Commission member refuse to comply, the individual may be removed from the dais by a two-thirds (2/3rds) majority vote, upon motion and second, of the City Commission.


Other amendments to the ordinance are in bold and red:

AGENDA PREPARATION
1. Items to be placed on the agenda must include supporting information when presented for City Manager’s (or his designee’s) review and signature at the Agenda Review Meeting. One original (clipped), of each item, must be presented.
2. Regular City Commission meeting agendas shall be posted at City Hall by the Friday of the week before said meeting, by 5:00 p.m. The Agenda shall also be electronically posted on the City’s website by 6:00 p.m. Agenda/Meeting packets shall be delivered to Commissioners on Friday afternoon.
6. All new ordinances (except those dealing with bonds) shall be brought before the Commission twice, once for Public Hearing and First Reading, and the second time for Second and Final Reading. [City Charter]
8. An item titled “Public Comment” shall be included as a numbered item on the agenda which shall be listed after the Public Hearings Section of the Regular City Commission Meeting agenda, to provide a time for brief comment by the public regarding issues which are not included on the agenda for that meeting.

VOTING MATTERS
1. Matters that have been voted on by the City Commission shall not be placed on the agenda for reconsideration within six (6) months, unless a member of Commission on the prevailing side, or a Commission member appointed or elected to Commission since the matter was considered, makes a written request (E-mail or fax included) to reconsider the matter in question.
2. Matters voted on by the City Commission, which end in a tie vote, shall automatically be placed on each subsequent Commission agenda until a decision is made. The Mayor is authorized to break a tie vote.

CONSENT AGENDA
Routine business that is brought before the City Commission may be considered under an agenda item called “Consent Agenda.” All items appearing under “Consent Agenda” shall be approved, adopted, accepted, etc., by one motion of the City Commission. If the consent agenda contains minutes of a meeting, which one or more commission members did not attend, an abstention will be recorded for each those members. The agenda will contain the names for those absent from each meeting in parentheses after the meeting date to officially record the absence. Specific consent agenda items may be set aside from the consent agenda by the Mayor, a Commission member, the City Manager or a member of the public for separate discussion and action.

PUBLIC COMMENT

a. Any person who wishes to address the City Commission must register with the City Secretary by 6:00 p.m., prior to the start of any regularly scheduled Commission meeting by submitting a completed “Public Comment” form. This form must be filled out completely in order to address the City Commission.
b. In accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, the Commission cannot take action on or discuss any subject brought up during “Public Comment”. However, the Mayor, or any Member of the City Commission, may add the issue to a future Commission agenda or refer it to the proper City Department for action. Commission members shall be allowed to briefly respond to comments when they deem it necessary, but not engage in a lengthy discussion.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the City Code of Ordinances regarding the preparation of agendas, the conduct of City Commission meetings, public comment and dealing with related matters.

This feels like a catch-all agenda item. I know there are all related, but it seems to me there should be three separate items.

I really wish we had an online Code of Ordinances like Corpus Christi or Dallas, so we could compare current ordinances with proposed changes.

Someday the city will get a clue--I hope.

Patricia A.

Friday, May 16, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

The City of Brownsville Web site desperately needs to be revamped. The "search" feature doesn't work at all. So why have it?

This is depressing.

Friday, May 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They read the blogs and you and I have both complained about this issue on your blog, and yet, it just doesn't register. I remember Longoria mentioned during one of the Live Blogs (ah, memories...) that someone from the library was working on it, but there has been minimal change.

It's frustrating not just because of the great need for a revamped website, but because between the City Secretary, Bill Young, and Jerry Hedgecock, all tasked with some aspect of public information, there doesn't seem to be anyone solely responsible and dedicated to its upkeep.

I suspect when they get around to addressing this cyber-eyesore, they'll just do enough to say that they did something.

Patricia A.

Friday, May 16, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

The city's Web site isn't alone. The county, PUB, BHA, etc., all need work.

On another note, I found the back-up material in the agenda binder for this ordinance amendment. I've updated the post.

Friday, May 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like they're trying to strip away the mayor's authority little by little. If they kick him out for bad behavior, we're left with Chuck Atkinson.

Catch 22.

Friday, May 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should the City Commission member refuse to comply, the individual may be removed from the dais by a two-thirds (2/3rds) majority vote, upon motion and second, of the City Commission.

I hope that having a concrete consequence to outbursts and personal attacks succeeds in taming those egos on the Commission. I would be concerned, however, that it might breed even more resentment and even escalate confrontations in an instance of a successful vote for removal.

An item titled “Public Comment” shall be included as a numbered item on the agenda which shall be listed after the Public Hearings Section of the Regular City Commission Meeting agenda

Is this changing the order of the Public Comments? I guess the usual suspects who come before the Commission to speak or complain on the general topics of accountability and fiscal stewardship will have to wait longer. On the other hand, those who go before the Commission to speak on a single issue affecting them directly don't have to wait as long.

Commission members shall be allowed to briefly respond to comments when they deem it necessary, but not engage in a lengthy discussion.

This will probably be abused. The way it is right now, everyone, except Atkinson, respects the no-response rule. Besides, this defeats the wonderful concept that there should be some time when citizens can be allowed to speak and Commissioners have to JUST SIT AND LISTEN.

Patricia A.

Saturday, May 17, 2008  
Anonymous Rio Grande V said...

Mrs. Zamora,

About the Public Comment Section, does this mean that "the Mayor" has back tracked on yet another campaign issue?

About commissioner's responding, I can find of no instance in the Texas Open Meetings Act that allows for this expanding of commissioner's privilege. Can Mr. Davis back me up on this?

V

Saturday, May 17, 2008  
Anonymous Rio Grande V said...

CONDUCT OF MAYOR AND COMMISSIONERS
If any member of the City Commission makes comments of a personal nature, or in any other manner disrupts the orderly conduct of business, in the course of discussion or action on a given Agenda Item, any member of the City Commission may call the behavior to the attention of the disruptive member, who must cease said behavior. Should the City Commission member refuse to comply, the individual may be removed from the dais by a two-thirds (2/3rds) majority vote, upon motion and second, of the City Commission.


Correct me if I am wrong, but is this part of the ordinance necessary? Robert Rule's of Order already allows for this removal process as indicated by the City Attorney himself at the last regular city commission meeting. The Commission approved usage of RRO, so why must they need an extra ordinance? Is it because they have nothing better to do? Because I could point them to a few bad streets that need fixin'.

I believe it is "the Mayor" and not Mr. City Attorney Goza placing this whole item on the agenda. "The Mayor" has repeatedly attempted to have some extra workshop on RRO and the like that it would be silly to think Goza would be the one placing this item on the agenda. Is he attempting to placate "the Mayor" in an attempt to keep his status?

V

Sunday, May 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comment assumes that the commissioners have read Robert's Rules of Order. Ha Ha, you give them so much credit!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, i'm watching a rerun of that meeting....how pathetic...where is that recall petition????

Sunday, May 18, 2008  

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