|SPECIAL CITY OF NOVI COUNCIL COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE WHOLE
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1995 AT 9:00 AM EST
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER
45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
The meeting was called to order at 9:15 AM.
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen (Present), Mayor ProTem Crawford (Present), Council Members Cassis (Present), Clark (Present), Mitzel (Present), Mutch (Present), Schmid (Present)
ALSO PRESENT: Dennis Watson - Assistant City Attorney
Tonni Bartholomew - City Clerk
Mayor McLallen explained what they are having this morning is a Committee Meeting of the Whole and typically the Chair of the Council does not direct this meeting so the Council has to choose someone else. Councilman Crawford was then nominated and Mrs. Bartholomew indicated it need not be a motion but just a consensus and there was a consensus that Councilman Crawford was Chair this meeting.
Councilman Crawford then asked if what they all have has been adopted and has this come out of the Committee.
Mrs. Bartholomew explained they were reviewing it paragraph by paragraph, or section by section, but the document as an entire document, has not been approved.
Councilman Crawford said he knows they have had some Council discussion beyond the Committee discussion and he was not sure if they incorporated anything in that discussion or not.
Mrs. Bartholomew said in the last set of Minutes they had, it appears that they were approving sections by sections. Councilman Crawford asked if that was incorporated in here and Mrs. Bartholomew said it was and they have included the Minutes so that they know what they have incorporated.
Councilman Schmid asked if those were the Minutes on the table and Mrs. Bartholomew explained those were the same except they have the even pages, and Councilman Crawford indicated the packet had missing pages.
Councilman Crawford said so this document here has never been approved in its entirety, but pieces of it have been approved, and Mrs. Bartholomew said that was correct and he said by just looking at this, they wouldnít know which pieces and Ms. Bartholomew said that was correct.
Councilman Crawford then suggested they would go through the document again and would that be appropriate, and Mayor McLallen felt that would work since they have so many new people.
Councilman Crawford suggested going through it and he felt that was within their power to take out and add to this anyhow so the Council could go through it section by section and paragraph by paragraph. He said he would begin and go through the document headings and if there were any objections, to let him know and if not, they could consider them ready for approval at an official meeting and this was agreed upon by everyone.
Councilman Crawford said the PROLOGUE looked good.
Councilman Mitzel said they have to revise the names and Mayor McLallen felt it should be Councilman Schmid, Mitzel, and then the three members who came in together. Councilman Crawford felt they should do it by votes for the three that came in together and actually, two came in by votes and then Councilman Clark would be last. He said actually Councilwoman Cassis would be the first and then Mayor McLallen and then Councilman Clark at the end. He asked if that sounded like the right way to do it.
Councilman Crawford said he didnít know if they needed anything to say that this is the way they were going to do it in the future.
Councilman Clark indicated Councilman Schmid would be first, Councilman Mitzel would be second, Councilwoman Cassis would be third and Mayor McLallen would be fourth and he would be last. Councilman Crawford said it wouldnít only be for a meeting, but he felt it was for who is in charge if everyone else is away.
Councilman Crawford felt Councilman Schmid is a perfect example of having been a member several years ago but that doesnít count towards present seniority. Mayor McLallen said it was in there.
Councilman Crawford said maybe they need to add something that talks about when 2-3 people come in together, for clarity, that the top vote-getter is more senior than the other and that just seems to be the simple way to do it.
Councilman Schmid said he felt they were starting out this Committee today and getting too finite.
Councilman Mitzel said he looked at this as their rules for the next two years and another Council may come in and would probably go through the whole thing and they would have a chance to put in something for every case and he didnít know if they needed to go that far. Mr. Watson said as long as they just list them in the order of the names.
Mayor McLallen said they could move along and take it the way it has been presented.
2. REGULAR MEETINGS.
Councilman Mitzel said the change is 7:30 PM for the next year instead of 8:00 PM.
Mayor McLallen asked if they could move it to 11:00 PM instead of Midnight just for a goal and Council member Mitzel said he would look at something like the Planning Commission has which was 11:30 PM and they would have to have a motion to continue it.
Councilman Mitzel said then they only do it for a half hour and they were done by Midnight.
Councilman Schmid asked how often did the former Planning Commission go beyond the time and Councilman Clark said they only had two meetings that were really bad and possibly one other meeting that went over the time but otherwise they were usually done by 11:30 P.M.
Councilman Crawford asked if this was going to be confusing and he would like to let the free-flow go here without being real formal and would that be confusing as long as everyone minds theirs Pís and Qís, and he felt it would flow better than recognizing people all the time and they could just be polite and just step in when they could.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if the matter on the table was the issue of Adjournment and it was stated yes, the 12:00 time.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if it was talked about that maybe Adjournment would be at 11:00 PM and Councilman Crawford said it was suggested and she said then after that, they would have to make a motion to continue and he said it would be similar to the Planning Commission.
Councilman Mitzel said his suggestion was that the Planning Commission was at 11:30 PM and they could basically take the language that they have and use it.
Councilwoman Cassis said she could support that for a number of reasons. She said all the time that she was on the Council and then even coming back on Council, she has noticed that somewhere around 11:00 PM, even with the best intentions, people who have worked all day and then are at a meeting such as this that holds their intense attention, it becomes difficult for them to continue.
Councilwoman Cassis felt the decisions that were made perhaps later on after 11:00-12:00 PM, she has seen and has noticed a rush to conclude and maybe that becomes problematic and she just didnít think individuals, are able to give it 100% like they do earlier on.
Councilwoman Cassis said another reason for being more timely was she felt if they have that 11:00 hour, all of them individually, speaking for herself, would be prone to taking a great deal of responsibility for moving things in the direction of trying to conclude, and not to perhaps eliminate any comments that were important, but to at least hold to not repeating themselves and to focus very directly on an issue and not letting something go on and on. She said that is why she felt that it would be a helpful sign to them at 11:00. She said if they go over, then they would have to make a motion and maybe a motion to extend to a certain time.
Councilwoman Cassis said another point that she realized over time was the business of the City, and after 11:00-12:00 isnít really as open to the public as they might think because people go to bed and turn off their TVís and there are things that possibly come up later on, on the Agenda that were very important and get missed, so there are two reasons, that one and the fact that she felt the difficulty of giving every discussion their best after the hours of 11:00-12:00 at night becomes somewhat diminished. She indicated she could support that.
Mayor McLallen said she very much supported the 11:00 PM Adjournment and Councilman Mitzel did a chart for her last year and it showed all their meetings in two years and their average closing time was 12:05 A.M., so they were not really far off and that was starting at 8:00 PM. She felt this was telling them to tighten up by a half hour, so it wasnít extreme, but as Councilwoman Cassis pointed out, it may give them a little incentive to tighten up their own discussions so she would support the 11:00 PM Adjournment.
Councilman Clark indicated he would support it too.
Councilman Schmid said he was an advocate against the motion. He would question 12:05 AM although that was probably accurate if you take every meeting and some of them were probably relatively short. He said he would guess that the majority of their meetings went well beyond 12:30 AM over the majority of the meetings that had any meat to them at all. He said they couldnít count every meeting where they had a relatively easy Agenda and he would say over half of them had some meat to them and he knows they went well to 1:00 - 1:30 AM
Mayor McLallen said they only had actually two that went beyond 1:00 AM.
Councilman Schmid said in any case, he felt if they stop the meetings at 11:00 PM, they would not get through a third or a half of their Agenda and then they would have to stop the meeting to have a discussion about whether or not they should continue. He said he didnít understand what difference it makes if they were at 11:00 PM and not done, and were they going to say they were done and not going to do anymore and would put an item to the next meeting. He felt pretty soon the meeting was going to have a very long Agenda.
Councilman Schmid felt rules were made for people who canít do what is suppose to be done in the first place. He felt you can have all kinds of rules, and that is one way to do it. He wondered if the City is going towards more rules because they find it difficult to lead, but he felt if people respect the system, they could get through the meeting. He said he would support stopping the meeting at 11:00 PM, but he was telling them that the meetings were not going to get done and every week they were going to have an argument whether or not they should continue and the business of the City is to get the work done and not put it off.
Councilman Schmid said he respected Councilwoman Cassisí comments regarding television and this Council ran for years and years without TV and whether they stay up and watch at 12:00 at night, that is a personís prerogative he supposed.
Councilman Schmid said he felt that 12:00 was a proper number that is in there now and with 11:00, they were not going to get be done. He said their opening comments take almost to 9:00 to 10:00 sometimes.
Councilwoman Mutch said when Councilman Mitzel first brought it up, he had said 11:30 PM and it sounds like everyone else has said 11:00 PM and she wondered which it is, and the Planning Commissionís Adjournment is 11:30 PM.
Councilman Clark said he would not be opposed to 11:30 or at 11:00 and having a vote to extend, whether they extend for a half hour or an hour. He said it has been pointed out that if they start at 7:30 PM, they were picking up a half hour. He said the other issue that has to be done is to encourage people that were going to want to put things on the Agenda, to make sure that they get them to the Clerkís office well in advance so that an Agenda can be planned and people donít come in at the last minute with a half dozen things that they have to have taken care of that night. He said then they start, as he used to see on the Commission, going through the items and this was missing and that was missing and they couldnít answer this question or that question because they do not do their homework and do not come prepared, but yet they want a decision that night.
Councilman Clark felt they sometimes create burdens and hardships both for themselves and Council or Planning Commission when he was on it, because they donít have everything that they need to proceed and they end up spending a great deal of time on that item and then they either have to put it over, table it, or take some other action that was not definitive in the first place and they may have used up an hour of their meeting.
Councilman Clark said they would want to strongly encourage through the Clerkís Office that if someone is going to bring in something to Council that they want on the Agenda, they should make sure it is in the fashion that it should be in and that all documentation is there.
Mayor McLallen said they havenít seen it yet, but Mrs. Bartholomew has already instituted a form that actually has a sign-off and also has a deadline in her office, which she is pretty firm in holding to and certain staff members were there on Thursdays pleading for more time and Mrs. Bartholomew was holding fast that the time had come.
Mayor McLallen said the sign-offs on the new sheet were very interesting and they even include if they are a Budget item, it comes out of the Budget, and it also includes whether it is an Attorney sign-off, City Manager sign-off, so she felt the Clerkís Office is already addressing the Councilís concerns about getting on the Agenda and with Mrs. Bartholomew as the gatekeeper, she didnít feel anything would get to Council in an unacceptable fashion.
Councilman Crawford said he would like to see this proposal with the 11:00 deadline, but not stop the meeting to vote on going beyond that. He said in their proposed rules right now, it says it will be a goal to finish by midnight and if they make it a goal to finish by 11:00, then when the Agenda is prepared, the Mayor, City Manager and City Clerk, plus the fact that they are starting a half hour early, would have an "in" frankly with their present Council maker, and he didnít think they would have a problem reaching that goal.
Councilman Crawford agreed with Councilman Schmid and he did not want to stop the meeting to make a decision on whether they should go on with some business that may be easily done in the next few minutes or if they have someone out there, whether it was a petitioner, developer or resident that has been waiting all night, and then have to make a decision on whether to send him home after being there all night, so he felt if they had a soft deadline like a goal, it would be easily attainable under their present system and also with the fact that they were moving up by a half hour. He said that is where he was coming from.
Councilman Mitzel said his point was just to put in the language that the Planning Commission has because it was 11:30 right now and they have the goal of 12:00 and they just moved their meeting by a half hour and he didnít know where the consensus was, and going for 11:00 was fine but having a soft goal doesnít do much. He said Monday evening was a case in point where it took them three hours to get through three items that should have taken an hour.
Councilman Mitzel said they were all guilty of talking a lot and repeating themselves and such and that was where he felt the goal helps because it would keep them more focused. He said true, they wouldnít need any of those goals if they were of the same mind-set and agreeable to everything, but they were not, so if they were looking for a consensus, he was suggesting the Commissionís current By Laws because it seems to work for them as far as the 11:30 language. He said if there were some who want to go to 11:00 that would be fine with him, but he didnít think it should be 12:00 because they moved the meeting a half an hour earlier, so it should be at least 11:30 because otherwise they would make longer meetings.
Councilman Crawford asked for further comments.
Councilwoman Mutch said she wanted to have Mr. Cohen get a copy of the Commissionís rules because the Planning Commission does have more than just an earlier goal, and they were also a little more restrictive and they just donít say shall they continue the meeting, and the rules of the Commission are that they have to have a vote and then say how long they were extending the meeting. He said they have to know whether they were going to go another 15 minutes or another hour and they donít always know that, but they could make that decision and the rules further state that they can only do that once so they have to be fairly accurate.
Councilwoman Mutch said since Councilman Mitzel is suggesting they adopt that, the two things they have already talked about is that the Commission meetings begin at 7:30 and that the meetings adjourn no later than 11:30 unless: (1) There are petitioners remaining on the Agenda; (2) That the Planning Commission and Community Development Staff needs direction on a matter that cannot wait until the next meeting; (3) The Commission votes to continue the meeting and such motion must include a specific ending time; and (4) The Commission may not extend the meeting ending time more than twice in any one evening.
Councilwoman Mutch said she didnít know if Council wants to be that restrictive but if they were to take Councilman Mitzelís general suggestion, they would have to take all of them.
Councilman Crawford said it boils down to a couple of alternatives, either set some hard and fast rules with some guidelines as to how they will extend and make that time for extension either 11:00 or 11:30 or adopt a "soft goal" of a different time, 11:00-11:30 and then keeping in mind the three people who put the Agenda together, and the fact that they were starting the meeting a half hour earlier, they could probably reach that goal. Councilman Crawford said Councilman Mitzel has given them specifics and rules and he knows where Councilman Mitzel is coming from. Councilwoman Mutch felt 11:00 was early and maybe it should be 11:30.
Councilman Crawford agreed and said they want some rules and guidelines and whether they want to make it a soft goal. He felt those were the two decisions.
Councilman Clark said he would go with 11:30 PM and Councilwoman Cassis said she would also and Councilman Schmid said he would also go with 11:30 PM.
Councilman Crawford said they should agree with what the rules should be. He said for simplicity, they could plug it in with a couple of refinements and they could always change the rules someday too. Councilman Clark felt that made sense and they could try it for awhile and if they find out it is not working, they could always scrap them.
Councilman Schmid felt the Council was forgetting what they were elected for which is to serve the public and there are people sitting out there all night long waiting to be heard or waiting for the last Audience Participation and now they were going to say they were going to quit at 11:00. Councilman Crawford said he had a feeling they wouldnít even reach that 11:30 deadline, at least based on what his suggestion was, and he felt they would be wrapping up around 11:00. He said the meeting was starting earlier and the Agenda is being put together differently so he didnít think they would get to that type of a situation many times.
Councilwoman Mutch said one thing they might add then is if there are any Petitioners remaining on the Agenda, you continue, but you might want to add if there is any remaining Audience Participation, you will have that final Audience Participation because as Councilman Schmid says, you may have people who are waiting and you may have a long first Audience Participation and you may get all the way to 11:30 and there are people waiting to speak after that. She said if you cut the meeting off because you are allotted a number of Audience Participations, you have eliminated the opportunity they were looking for, so that would help take care of part of the problem that Councilman Schmid pointed out.
Councilwoman Mutch said if you have on the Agenda three Audience Participations or two, and before the final adjournment you decide you will end at 11:30, you then say you will have the final Audience Participation, and she felt most times it wouldnít be a problem.
Councilman Crawford said that is the reason they usually go longer anyway because there are Petitioners or an Audience Participation.
Councilman Clark said on the Planning Commission, often times you had people who wanted to speak during Audience Participation and originally the Commission had two and the second one was at the end of the meeting and people were staying very late to make comments so they decided to have the second Audience Participation after the mid-break so anyone who wanted to address the Commission on any item on the Agenda or not on the Agenda and didnít want to stay late, had the opportunity to speak at that second Audience Participation. He said often times, they found that people had some short comments to make and they made their comments and then left. He said that may be a possibility too.
It was stated the Council has three Audience Participations and Councilman Clark said he knows that people want to hear what goes on before they come and Councilman Crawford said the Council may change that and based on what Councilman Clark just said, they may drop the last Audience Participation and have one mid-evening instead of having one at midnight that doesnít serve much purpose.
Councilman Crawford asked if they all understood where they were going in Regular Meetings now. He asked Mrs. Bartholomew if she knew and she replied she did. Councilman Crawford then said there was no problem with the meeting following the Election and he felt it was pretty routine.
3. SPECIAL MEETINGS
Councilman Mitzel felt that language was all right and it was straight from the Charter.
4. JOINT MEETINGS
Councilman Mitzel said this item also looked fine. Councilman Crawford said his only question was why is it in there and of course we can have meetings with other people but why even mention it and it is taking up space. He said it says the Council may hold meetings and it doesnít say we shall and it says we may and of course we may.
Councilwoman Cassis indicated she agreed with Councilman Crawford, but she felt sometimes when things are in black and white, they show for an intent and sometimes without them being there, the intent is lost over time or maybe things can be forgotten, but this at least says there is a reasonableness of doing this sort of thing. She felt if they were not there, they may forget about them.
Councilman Crawford said then they agree it will stay in there.
Mayor McLallen had a comment and said she wasnít sure if this was the appropriate place to put it in or over where they were dealing with Committees, Boards and Commissions but it was the issue of Quarterly Interview Sessions. Councilman Mitzel felt it should be with the Committees.
5. EXECUTIVE SESSIONS
Councilman Mitzel asked Mr. Watson at what point do they start repeating verbatim and this is from the Open Meetings Act and why wouldnít they just be better off saying Executive Session could be in accordance with the Open Meetings Act and Mr. Watson added they should identify the Act and he further stated they could identify it by identifying the Statute or the Charter Section and the only advantage to this is if someone wants to pick up the rules without having to pick up the Charter.
Councilman Mitzel said in this case it says two-thirds is required for a Closed Session except for the two exceptions listed in the Open Meetings Act and he asked do they just reference the Open Meetings Act or reprint the whole thing. He said he just threw that out for a possibility and he felt they may be all right by saying, Executive Session may be called in compliance with the Open Meetings Act.
Councilman Clark felt it was good to have it in there because with reference to the two exceptions sometimes people will think they have a right to be there for those as well, which under the Open Meetings Act they donít.
Mr. Watson asked out of curiosity, is there someone who is on the Committee that worked on these that knows why only these two sections were excerpted. Councilman Mitzel thought they may be the two sections that donít require a two-thirds Roll Call Vote.
Councilman Crawford said quite often, they have Executive Sessions to discuss property acquisitions and does that mean, based on what he reads here, that they would have to have a two-thirds majority in order to hold that Executive Session for property acquisition and Mr. Watson replied yes. Mayor McLallen said they have never done it as a Roll Call and they have put scheduling an Executive Session on the Consent Agenda. Mr. Watson said which means a unanimous vote. Mayor McLallen said they donít need a Roll Call then if it was unanimous.
Mr. Watson said he would have to check but he felt the Statute may say Roll Call.
Councilman Mitzel said they do the same thing with Ordinances in the Charter and it calls for Ordinances and they put Ordinances on the Consent Agenda.
Councilman Crawford said they just talked about ways to shorten their meetings and now they were finding ways to lengthen them.
Mayor McLallen said regarding this matter, she was of Councilman Mitzelís opinion and if they were going to print anything so the people understand the difference, part of her says print nothing, but as Councilwoman Cassis is pointing out, this is a reference for other people to understand how they work, as much as a guideline for themselves, so just putting a reference is somewhat frustrating, meaning they have to look up another book.
Councilman Clark said either that, or they could put a reference in there saying that a complete copy of the Open Meetings Act is available for review at the City Clerkís office and he didnít think they would have too many takers in most instances.
Councilwoman Mutch said if she understood this right, it says except for Closed Sessions as permitted under the Act, and the two sections that follow, they are in effect, the limitation of restriction on when they could do this. She said it is identifying that, so rather than just say, except for closed sessions permitted under the Act with a period, they could have at least a colon or say, as follows or something to indicate that this is specific to that and it doesnít cover everything.
Councilman Crawford said there was an A and a C and there must be a B somewhere and Mr. Watson indicated there were eight exceptions, A - H.
Councilwoman Mutch said she was wondering when they do the Consent Agenda, even if they have these other things on the Consent Agenda, if the Consent Agenda itself is approved with a Roll Call Vote, does that cover it and Mr. Watson said yes. Councilwoman Mutch said that would be a simple solution.
Councilman Crawford asked if the Executive Sessions stand as they have them and was that the consensus and it was stated yes.
6. AGENDA - REGULAR MEETINGS
Councilman Crawford said before they get to the specifics of the Agenda, what about the first two paragraphs and Mayor McLallen asked Mrs. Bartholomew to explain to Council what she has changed, if anything.
Mrs. Bartholomew said she put on the draft 4:00 PM but it is to encourage people to be there by 5:00 PM and then with the materials to be submitted by noon the following day so that they can put the packets together and have them delivered by 5:00 PM on Thursday and that was it.
Councilman Crawford asked what was the 4:00 PM deadline, and Mrs. Bartholomew said to communicate to the Clerkís Office any additions or changes and he asked what was the 5:00 PM time and was she suggesting they do it at 4:00 PM instead of 5:00 PM. Mr. Watson explained Mrs. Bartholomew was suggesting that their rules say 4:00 PM so that they really get it done by 5:00 PM.
Councilman Mitzel said Thursday has traditionally been the packet day but just because they have done it on Thursday doesnít mean Thursday is the best day and some of their newer members may need more time or some of us may need more time and maybe we want packets on Wednesday instead.
Councilman Crawford said they used to get the packets on Friday but moved it up to Thursday.
Councilman Mitzel said he hasnít had too much of a problem, but he had some residents say that they have a problem with it coming up on Thursdays because by the time they get notification of the Agenda, it is Saturday or Monday and then they donít have any time to follow up. He said that was just an issue he wanted to see what the feelings were from Council.
Councilman Mitzel said the other matter was when he was on the Planning Commission, they had a rule that said nothing could be submitted at the table, in other words, at the beginning of the meeting they couldnít walk in and say by the way, there is this item that needs to be on the Agenda.
Councilman Mitzel said at the last minute, there was a deadline that said for any item that was going to be on the Agenda, the material had to be in the packet and supplement material could not be added at the table. He said at times, he has had a concern over that with Council when they walk in, and he understood the time constraints and such, but when Administration says by the way they would find this big packet on the table and they need them to approve it that night, he felt with some advance planning, that could be avoided.
Councilman Crawford said they have some rules in there regarding that matter and Councilman Mitzel said but it seems about two out of three of their meetings they have things that were added by the City Administration at the table. He said he was not advocating the rule right now on that and he was just saying they should watch it and he supposed they could always tell the City Administration not to include something on their Agenda.
Mayor McLallen asked were they talking about supplemental information to things that were already in the packet and Councilman Mitzel said no he was talking about new items.
Mayor McLallen said the rule says that nothing can be added unless approved by the Mayor and the City Manager or a majority goes to the City Council. She said they could drop the "or" and just say "and/or" and leave out the City Manager and Mayor and put Council in.
Councilman Mitzel felt she was right and they still have to approve their Agenda, so maybe that was not an issue but he just wanted to express his concern and that they keep an eye on it. He said with the approval of the Agenda and items being placed on the Agenda by the Mayor and City Council, he didnít know if that is the right time to mention the sign-off checklist but it was indicated that Mrs. Bartholomew is developing a sign-off checklist. He said he wrote a memo earlier last month concerning several items that have gotten to the table, that things were not ready or things were not thoroughly reviewed, and he had advocated that the City Manager and the City Attorney sign off on every Agenda item before it is placed on the Agenda.
Councilman Mitzel said he didnít mean that they actually do the review and what he meant was that as a direct report to the City Council, they are directly responsible to the Council. He said there is the accountability issue that they are accountable to the Council as opposed to them saying to the Planning Department or to the Parks & Rec Department, who are not directly responsible to Council but are responsible to the City Manager. He said that was his reasoning that the City Manager and the City Attorney sign off and it doesnít mean that they have to personally review everything and they can delegate the work, but they are just assuring to the Council that things are ready for the Council Agenda as accountability issues.
Councilman Mitzel said maybe Mrs. Bartholomewís system is incorporating that and if it is, he didnít know if they need to approve her system to authorize it because the City Clerk, the City Attorney, and the City Manager, were all direct reports of Council and maybe Mr. Watson could comment on whether they need that in their rules or if the City Clerk could just develop it on her own.
Mr. Watson commented he was sure the City Clerk could develop the system to review items before they go into the packet, but he didnít think they would ever have a system that assures them that all of the items that are before them are not going to have problems and he felt that was inevitable.
Councilman Mitzel said it was in here about how the Agenda is put together and that is why he brought it up. Councilman Crawford said it was a good time to discuss it, but these two are somewhat different, and he felt they were talking about a separate paragraph to talk about a checklist of some kind.
Councilman Mitzel said he was trying to find out whether they need something in here or not, because right now it says, City Manager and City Clerk with consultation with the Mayor shall prepare an Agenda of business to be considered at each regular Council meeting and that is the first paragraph.
Councilman Crawford said that would still happen irregardless of the check-off list.
Mr. Kriewall commented in the real world this information is coming from 15 different departments, consultants, faxes, etc., and for all practical purposes, the department head is signing off on this material as it gets here, but to have the City Attorney and City Manager be gatekeepers of tons of information coming in at the last minute is just unrealistic and in the real world, it just canít work that way.
Councilman Crawford said before going further, could they just agree on a consensus of these two paragraphs and this is only in preparation of the Agenda and in other words, if the City Manager and the City Clerk and the Mayor decided to put an item on the Agenda and if it wasnít ready and checked off as they suggest, it wouldnít be there that night, but this is just the format to get something on the Agenda, so he was looking for a consensus on those two paragraphs with the insertion of 4:00 PM and then we can talk about what Councilman Mitzel is talking about.
Councilman Schmid said in all fairness, what Councilman Mitzel was talking about would be in that paragraph and he was not suggesting to adopt it, but if they were, that is where it would be.
Councilman Crawford said he was just trying to get an agreement on what is before them now and they could insert it if they have to.
Councilman Schmid said they could change the paragraph and he was taking an agreement of something that he wants to add to it.
Councilman Crawford asked if everyone agreed with what is before them right now and the 4:00 PM time that Mrs. Bartholomew has suggested for packet submission.
Councilwoman Cassis said she saw where Councilman Crawford was going and she was in agreement up to the 4:00 PM Wednesday time preceding the next meeting, but after that, she felt what Councilman Schmid is saying is correct, that they get what they need and to get certain items agreed to.
Councilman Crawford said if it needs to be inserted in that paragraph, that is fine, or they could take it out but he was just trying to get a consensus on the fact of the second paragraph, and if they change the actual format of the Agenda, they were going to have to change something there, but if they agree on that, then they should go with the 4:00 PM time and the rest of it.
Mayor McLallen said she felt they were still not addressing what Councilman Mitzelís concern was and Councilman Crawford said he was going to do that right now.
Councilwoman Mutch said when it says generally be submitted by 5:00 PM, that still allows Mrs. Bartholomew to operate the way she was which is encouraging people to do it by 4:00 PM and she could still have that extra hour if she wants to allow them that leeway.
Councilwoman Mutch said the question was raised early on about items added even though approved by the Mayor and City Manager. She asked whether that should be an "or" or an "and" in terms of having City Council majority vote, because she felt it should be if the City Manager and Mayor together feel that something needs to be added, and they may or may not agree. Councilman Mitzel felt they still have to approve the Agenda that night.
Councilwoman Mutch said she understood that, but in general, we tend to be very agreeable. She said she has never heard anyone question adding something and even when on the Commission, meeting after meeting, where as a courtesy they add something to the Agenda and it gets to be the 11:30 point and they donít have time to talk about it, it gets put off to another meeting anyway, so she would question what have they accomplished.
Councilwoman Mutch said she wanted to know if it was going to be an "and" or an "or" where it says approved by the Mayor and City Manager or by a majority vote of the City Council, which is in the second paragraph.
Councilman Mitzel asked if that would be for items that were added at the beginning of the meeting during the approval of the Agenda, and Mr. Watson felt that was correct.
Councilwoman Mutch felt Councilman Mitzel knows where he is going with the majority vote, and the point is, for example, if a department or someone else comes to the Mayor or City Manager and wants to add something, and if the Council says "or" it means that person can bypass them and come directly to Council and ask that someone put it on. She said she wasnít saying the Council should or shouldnít do that, but they should keep it in mind and that is what the "or" does for them and what the "and" would prevent.
Councilman Crawford said they were talking about two different times and they were talking about the Wednesday preceding a meeting and guidelines for getting items on the Agenda, and then they were talking anything after that.
Mayor McLallen said Councilwoman Mutch was talking about Paragraph Two when they were all here and someone says they have this huge packet, but have one more thing that is really critical.
Councilwoman Mutch said anything after Wednesday really, whether it was at the meeting or not.
Councilwoman Cassis asked for clarification, and she would say that no items would be added to the Agenda unless approved by a majority vote of the City Council. She felt that was strong and gives them their rightful position to make determinations if an Agenda has been sent out and is not in the process of being changed.
Mayor McLallen felt that was really fair, and the Mayor and the City Manager and the Clerk have had the opportunity.
Councilman Crawford felt that was the bottom line anyway no matter who adds it when it is going to be approved by the majority of City Council at the meeting.
Councilwoman Cassis said it does not offend anyone.
Councilman Crawford said so in the second paragraph, they are going to eliminate by the Mayor and City Manager and they are talking about after Wednesdays. Mayor McLallen said up to Wednesday, they have the control and after Wednesday, the Council has the control. Councilman Crawford said so any new item that is not on a previously published Agenda, which is really what it amounts to, has to be agreed to by City Council.
Councilman Schmid said what about on the evening of the meeting where something comes up that day that absolutely has to be put on, and sometimes that happens in the real world. Mayor McLallen said that person can come to the Council members and say here is what it is and they make the motion whether to deal with it or not.
Councilman Schmid said if he comes to the Council meeting and indicates he would like to add something, there is nothing wrong with that if four or five Council members agree with it.
It was stated that is what they were proposing.
Councilwoman Mutch said then the only two ways that something will get on the Agenda the night of the Council Meeting is the City Manager making that kind of a request or by Council.
Councilman Crawford felt it would have to be via a Council member and they would have to talk to an individual member before the meeting and they could introduce it and if the Council wants to put it on, they would put it on.
Councilman Crawford said that is what they would do anyway and the Council approves the Agenda so they could add or delete when they approve the Agenda. Councilwoman Mutch said she would assume a department head or someone like that would have to make his request through the City Manager, and Councilman Crawford said yes, Mr. Kriewall can introduce a subject from a department head.
Councilman Crawford then said they still need to talk about the Checklist.
Councilman Mitzel said he wasnít trying to develop a huge checklist here and he just wanted to make it clear that they try to minimize the times these things come before us that are not ready and it seems like they have had a rash of them this last calendar year. He understood that administratively he didnít care how it was done, how they have solved the problem because that is the City Managerís job, but accountability-wise, he viewed that the Council is accountable to the residents to get the business done.
Councilman Mitzel said the next step is the City Manager, the Clerk, the Attorney, and the Assessor are the four that are directly accountable to the Council, so he believed the Council in all fairness, should be telling the City Manager or Attorney or whoever they decide., that they want to sign off or assure that these have been reviewed to the best possibility and that is where the accountability is. He said now if they want to delegate to the department heads, that is fine, but he didnít think the Council should be sitting here saying, we want a sign-off from each department head because the accountability is not from the Council to the department heads, it was from the Council to the Manager and that is where the accountability is by Charter.
Mr. Kriewall said they are accountable anyway, and he asked why were they trying to micro-manage this situation. Councilman Crawford asked if Mrs. Bartholomew has some proposals.
Mrs. Bartholomew said she has a form she has used in former communities and she has seen it at other communities too during Clerkís meetings or a shared-type thing. She said what they have on them is a title for the particular Agenda item, the date it was submitted and there is a section which if it involves money, they need to put the account number that it is coming from, the amount that they were asking for and if it needs an appropriation, there is a section for financial. She said if it is a legal issue, there is a section for legal and if it is a general issue, there is a Department Head/City Manager so if it was a Planning Commission item or whatever, the Planning Department head would sign off on it. She said it is a statement saying I have checked everything and it is in order.
Mrs. Bartholomew said beneath there, it gives a very brief history on why it is there and was it citizen or Council initiated, and very briefly, a proposed motion to either accept or deny or revise or whatever they want to do, but it gives them an idea on what needs to be contained in the motion, if it needs to be subject to consultantsí reviews and all of those things are listed to give them a tool to look at and they know that legally these things should be in motion and they donít have to adopt that motion and they can change it back.
Councilwoman Cassis asked in Mrs. Bartholomewís experience then, did that facilitate the action on items because that is what Councilman Mitzel was getting at, which was an assurance that things were ready from an administrative standpoint, and that they donít get something that they have to send back because something major is omitted.
Mrs. Bartholomew said it does because if it is coming from her department and she has to sign her name to it, she has looked it over and if she has not, then you will be coming to me, so it really ties that item to a person and you know where the ball is being dropped.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if she was comfortable with that role and Mrs. Bartholomew said she is very comfortable with it and she has worked with it in the past.
Councilman Clark said he would join in with the comments that have been made thus far on this item. He said Councilman Mitzel made the point and correctly so, that we are ultimately responsible to the citizens of this community, but when it comes to the department heads and people within the departments doing their jobs, we act as a committee of the whole performing an oversight function.
Councilman Clark said and it is not our function to micro-manage every aspect of the Cityís business because if that was the case, you wouldnít need the City Manager and department heads and would just need a Mayor and a Council and obviously these are not full-time positions. He said we have to operate on the presumption of good faith that people are going to certainly be performing their jobs at the level and capacity that they should be doing and from what he could see in this community for all the time he has been here, it certainly has been happening.
Councilman Clark said the system that Mrs. Bartholomew has mentioned he felt was a great idea because he was sure there would always be instances here and there where there would be a glitch and we have to bear that in mind. He said by the same token, if we find that consistently there is a problem in the same area over and over again and you have a name to tie it to, we can go back to the department head or City Manager and say we feel there is a problem here, what can we do to address it and take care of it. He didnít want the Council to be in the position of acting as micro-managers in the Cityís business as he felt it would be a big mistake.
Councilman Mitzel stated Councilman Clark was saying what he was saying and Council should not be going to the department heads and that was one of the things you mentioned and to go either to department heads or the City Manager and he was saying it should be the City Manager and he didnít care what type of form they use. He was just saying somewhere on that form, there should be a sign-off of the Manager. He said that is where the Councilís accountability lies, the Manager and the Council, and how he does this, he didnít care just as long as it happens.
Councilman Mitzel commented there are many Boards and Directors and such in private business that their Agenda items just donít get here and they have to go through Executive Committee/Executive Directors and have to be signed off and be thoroughly evaluated to say it is ready and that is all he is saying. He was just indicating to put somewhere a sentence that the City Manager and the City Clerk, the Consultant, and the Mayor shall provide an Agenda of business for each regular meeting and items of business must be submitted by 4:00 PM and also have been signed off by the Manager.
Councilman Crawford said it sounds like they are all talking about the same thing. Councilman Mitzel said all the sign-offs should have the Manager and not Manager or department head. Councilman Crawford said the Manager is ultimately responsible and if he has a department head that signs off enough times and they have a problem with it, then they were going to have a problem.
Councilwoman Cassis said in all honesty, she saw this as an attempt to ensure against micro-managing instead of furthering that. She felt they were getting very close to a system that will work and whether it was the Manager or his representative could be the language and Mrs. Bartholomew would then be given the authority by the Manager and her name would be on that slip that comes through and she felt it would be positive. She agreed with Councilman Mitzel and didnít feel it was an attempt to micro-manage and it was an attempt to make sure something is ready and that they could move forward.
Mr. Kriewall said in the real world, when you get a packet like this, it might take them the entire weekend to read it. He said why it absolutely doesnít work is all of this information is coming together in a time frame that is probably 2-4 hours, either 4:00 PM on Wednesday or Thursday by noon, and sometime between 5:00 PM Wednesday night and noon on Thursday the Agenda is printed. He stated the Mayor has met with us and they have agreed on the items and all of the information. He said the Mayor doesnít even see this information nor does he or Mrs. Bartholomew until it is all coming together, so to have someone sign off on this much paper and expect that we personally have checked off on everything, is totally ludicrous. He said you canít review that information in a day and it was just coming from all directions so he felt Mrs. Bartholomewís system will work, but to have him sign off on this is absurd.
Councilman Crawford said he didnít feel the City Manager has to sign off and eventually if there is a problem, the City Manager is going to address it through us, but he would think if an issue came to the Council from a department, that that Director would have reviewed it to make sure that everything is there and that they would sign off on the form Mrs. Bartholomew has. He said he has been looking for something like this for years that gives a brief history of the project, possibly a proposed motion, the kind of action we have to take, the people who would have reviewed what is in the packet and it might be multiple departments. He felt it was appropriate to have the department heads sign off on this and he certainly hoped that everything they get doesnít come from the Planning Department without Mr. Wahl looking at it.
Mr. Kriewall said the department heads right now were doing a summary and recommending a cover sheet. Councilman Crawford felt that would work and he would not expect Mr. Kriewall to have to sit down and re-look at everything. He said if we have a problem with something from the Parks & Rec Department on several occasions, we should direct Mr. Kriewall to take care of it.
Mr. Kriewall commented in the real world, the place he felt they were having problems with where something has to be turned back to Administration are the planning issues, which are probably the most complex issues that you see. He said budget amendments to buy police cars are pretty simple.
Mr. Kriewall said Councilman Mitzel has been able to find instances where the Consultants have missed something or misinterpreted something, and that will probably continue as Councilman Mitzel continues to get into the real details of some of these issues.
Councilwoman Cassis suggested maybe those who have a particular concern could get it down on paper where there have been examples of specifics, which would guide them. She said we could be as specific as possible and she asked Councilman Mitzel if that would be possible.
Councilman Mitzel said he has already prepared it and gave it last year and Councilwoman Cassis said she would like to see it.
Councilwoman Mutch said with the Commission, we had things that were submitted that were less than what they should have been, but at least the Commission had the assurance that it had been reviewed because the accompanying materials specifically said that they realize this is not here and this is not here and we suggest or recommend moving forward with it. She said that in itself, gave them some idea that a review has occurred and you can decide whether you move ahead with it or not.
Councilwoman Mutch felt what Councilman Mitzel may be saying or implying is that should be happening by someone before it gets to Council because Councilman Mitzel may well be the only person reading every single sentence.
Councilwoman Mutch felt it shouldnít be dependent on one of them catching something, although ultimately they are responsible, and they are hoping that it is not totally on their shoulders.
Councilman Mitzel felt the form that Mrs. Bartholomew is developing will work, and his only issue is whether the City Manager should eventually sign off on it, and he realizes that one person canít review the packet in the couple of hours that it is coming together, but yet as Councilwoman Mutch has pointed out, Council is expected to.
Councilman Mitzel didnít think it should be their job to have to go through that packet to find things that slip through, and quite honestly, he would rather not be in a position where he would have to send in a memo that something doesnít meet this, and he believed Councilman Schmid has said the same thing on occasions where he has found things at the meeting and it shouldnít be Councilís job to do that. He said so that may mean that the City Manager and City Administration has to change the way they do business. He said just because they have always done it that everything comes together in a four-hour period and everything is rush, rush, doesnít mean it is right and it is the only way to do it.
Councilman Mitzel said he didnít care how they do it, but his concern is that it doesnít fall on all seven of us to have to go through it with a sieve to find all the little things that were not in there, and he felt Mrs. Bartholomewís sign-off will help a lot, but even if it is the consensus of the Council that the City Manager doesnít sign off or the Attorney doesnít sign-off, it is still pretty clear in the City Charter, that the Manager, the Attorney and the Clerk and the Assessor are the ones who are directly responsible to City Council.
Mr. Kriewall felt they all know that and he didnít feel Councilman Mitzel needed to have them sign their life away on very document.
Councilman Mitzel said just because it has always been done this way, doesnít mean that it is working and it canít be changed to make it better.
Councilman Crawford felt what Mrs. Bartholomew has proposed will solve Councilman Mitzelís problem, and he felt department heads have more than Thursday afternoon to review this and they have been assembling this for days or weeks and it was finally presented by that Thursday afternoon so they should be capable of signing off and he didnít feel the City Manager has to get all of that on Thursday afternoon and sign it off, and if there is a problem consistently from one department not having everything in order, then he needs to address it.
Mr. Kriewall said the department that has the particular expertise ought to be the department that is signing off and the Police Chief should also be signing off on police and the Planning Department ought to be signing off on setbacks and plats, etc. and that is their job and that is what that form says and it puts the accountability to the department head that has that item introduced.
Councilman Crawford asked if there was a consensus to implement what Mrs. Bartholomew has suggested and they could always refine it if they find it doesnít work in a few months, but it sounds good to him and there are even some additional added items that would be of interest to him as far as proposed motions and a history of the project and he felt that kind of a cover sheet would be helpful.
Councilman Schmid said presently the Planning Department, more than others, will do a memo explaining the item that is before the Council in saying that they agree with it and the reasons why and someone else agrees with it and the reasons why, and they do that now, and it was a one or two page memo. He asked if this is a supplement to that.
Mrs. Bartholomew said actually she has been talking with the Planning Department trying to resolve that very matter and they have not come to a conclusion, but hopefully it would be a form modified maybe just for the Planning Department, which would be very similar. Councilman Schmid said it shouldnít be a duplication.
Councilman Schmid said they would have to go to this checklist and then write another summary. Mrs. Bartholomew said they were trying to eliminate a duplication.
Councilman Schmid said frankly, having been in management for a number of years and running a fairly large corporation, he could not imagine how these people could possibly do what they do now, with the amount of paper flow and have it all active. He said he did not know how they do it and every week, the papers that flow through the departments, including the Monthly Reports, which he didnít think anyone reads in any detail and he didnít know how they do it.
Councilman Crawford asked if they could get a consensus here on implementing Mrs. Bartholomewís form and he felt the discussion is without a hard sign-off from the City Manager, bearing in mind how this all comes together on Thursday and it still could be department heads and they have days and weeks to put this together and they should be able to sign off on it.
Councilman Mitzel said why donít they put in that first paragraph, second sentence about items of business must generally be submitted by 4:00 on Wednesday, preceding the meeting, and to include a sign-off sheet as designed by the City Clerk.
Councilman Crawford asked if there were any objections to that and Councilman Mitzel said a prerequisite to be on the Agenda is to be there by 4:00 with the sign-off sheet to the Clerk. Councilman Crawford said if there are no objections, then they have a consensus and can move on to the next item.
Councilwoman Mutch commented while they were discussing all of that, it occurred to her that when they were talking about the Agenda in the second paragraph, they were talking about the published Agenda, and it says the prepared Agenda and it is the published Agenda and is that correct. She said she was wondering if they might add to that line, added to or deleted from the published Agenda and "published" was the word she was going to in particular. Councilman Crawford said that sounds reasonable and did everyone agree with that and they indicated they did.
Councilman Crawford asked if there were any comments on the actual meat of the Agenda. Councilman Mitzel said this isnít a current format we follow now and we have a set of rules that are already approved from 1992 or 1993 and this was the idea as of last March to rearrange the Agenda. He said at this point in time, he didnít know if they need to rearrange the Agenda or just adopt the Agenda that they have going right now, which has added the Mayor and Council Issues, which gives them a spot for people on the Council to bring up initiatives. He said he would have no problem keeping their current Agenda format with the addition of the Mayor and Council Issues, which have been on there since mid-summer.
Mayor McLallen asked if Councilman Mitzel was suggesting leaving A-I intact, and moving J, K. L, M and the new Mayor/Council back to where they were currently doing it later. Councilman Mitzel said he thought it was J, K. L which is Committee, Managers and Attorneys and Mayor McLallen said and then have an M for the new one and re-number Matters for Council Action, which would be N.
Mayor McLallen further said but J - M would be moved back to where they were doing it now. Councilman Mitzel said that is an idea. Mayor McLallen said the discussion has been here was that many of these items - the Managers Report, the Attorneys Reports, for the most part are very simple, and they very rarely become very involved and yet they happen historically at 11:30 when people are ready to go and perhaps significant issues are not talked about, so the previous group had asked that they be done early in the evening. She then asked are you saying they should leave them early or move them late.
Councilman Mitzel said he had advocated earlier too at that point because that is where they typically would bring up their concerns and they would say, could you look into this and look into that, and now with this Mayor and Council Issue Agenda item, they have a spot where they could raise initiatives or concerns that they wish to have and the Managerís Reports and Attorneyís Reports lately have just been real quick and there is either no report or we are looking at this or that.
Councilman Mitzel said so he had no problem with the way it is working now. He said for the Committee Reports quite honestly, we usually donít get any Committee Reports and there is only a couple of committees that still have Council Members on and we have been initiating the written committee report format and with the Open Meetings Act, we found out we have to have the Minutes done within 8 days anyway, so he felt they would be getting a lot more information, more timely through the written minutes or written summaries, than a verbal report at the meeting.
Councilman Mitzel said he is just saying we may not need to work on trying to rearrange our agenda as it seems to be working the last few times and seems to be going a little more smoothly now.
Mr. Kriewall agreed with Councilman Mitzel and he felt J, K, and L should be down below where they presently are and quite frankly, the Council Agenda is structured that the items that need to be dealt with publicly are near the top and we are just reporting on minor issues and they normally communicate everything to Council as much as we can in writing on all matters and sometimes it is even harder to think of something to report other than what we have written down, so he felt J, K and L should stay down at the bottom as they are.
Councilman Schmid indicated he concurred also.
Councilman Mitzel said there was one thing that they still have to clarify in their Agenda and that is the Consent Agenda because in the Parliamentary Procedures meeting, it was pointed out that it really wasnít clear where we address items that were removed from the Consent Agenda. He said Item I is Approval of the Consent Agenda, but there really is no item that says that, and Item P should probably say something as to the items removed from the Consent Agenda, to let people know if they pull something from the Consent Agenda, they have to wait until the end, and it wasnít really clear.
Councilman Mitzel said it was just a matter of clarification not rearranging the Agenda and the City Clerk can handle it by making a note on the Agenda.
Councilwoman Mutch felt this was always confusing to people that the Consent Agenda is listed in two places and the first time it is mentioned, as she understood it, you are either approving the Agenda as is or removing items from it and you do nothing with it until sometime later in the meeting, and then you get to it at that point and you vote on it. She said then you have the third part which is the discussion of those items that have been removed. She asked why is it all split up like that.
Councilman Crawford said it was just the format and it was not the content and it was not the specific items and it was just the order.
Councilwoman Mutch said when approving the Agenda for the entire meeting, you are not approving everything that is going to happen, and why wouldnít that be the time to make any changes in the Consent Agenda and then you know, and everyone out there knows if something has been pulled, and everyone knows whether it is going to be early in the meeting or later in the meeting. She said the second issue is the approval of the Consent Agenda, which is a simple vote and once you know what is on it, it is one vote. She asked why is that somewhere in the meeting other than immediately following the approval of that.
Councilman Crawford said because they donít want to discuss the items that are pulled at that point in the meeting. Councilwoman Mutch asked but you are not approving it up there anyway and Councilman Crawford explained they are approving everything that has not been removed from it and if nothing is removed, then it is approved. Councilwoman Mutch felt it was confusing.
Councilman Crawford felt a simple explanation, as Councilman Mitzel mentioned, might be in order, but he felt their procedure has worked well, but it could be somewhat confusing, although it is always explained by the Chair of the meeting when they get to Item 1 at the beginning of the meeting. He said it is always explained that these items have been approved and they could leave those other items not approved and they would be discussed later on when they get to that part of their Agenda, but he asked if they put that in here, who are they clarifying that to.
Mr. Watson said the only person you would be clarifying it to is just an Audience member that picks up the Agenda and is trying to understand that, and possibly a simple thing to do would just be first where it is listed, where it says, Approvals or Removals, to have a parenthetical that says, Items Listed Below, so they know where to find the item.
Councilwoman Mutch agreed and said this whole listing belongs there and she felt the listing of what is on the Consent Agenda belongs at the point at which you are approving it in her view. She said if Item P is the actual discussion part of the meeting for things that have been pulled, they would say that is what is going to be there.
Mayor McLallen agreed with Councilwoman Mutch and said the papers are going to be used one way or the other and it allows people to see it, but again what Mr. Watson and Councilwoman Mutch were saying was where it states, Consent Agenda Approval, they could put in the language, Removals For Further Discussion and Vote and then they could indicate that would take place under Item T and it is a long sentence, but at least it would put everything dealing with consent in one area.
Mayor McLallen said she is aware in the meetings she frequently skips the Consent Agenda. Councilman Crawford said he doesnít know who has been confused by what has been done for years.
Councilwoman Mutch said even when you know how it works, you come into a meeting and you are somewhere in the meeting between Item I and Item T, and you have no clue what has been pulled, if anything, and what is not, so you sit around waiting to find out and Councilman Crawford said you wouldnít anyway no matter what you did.
Councilwoman Mutch said sometimes you come in and ask and people have no idea but the point is you come in thinking you still have an opportunity to do something about that, and this way you at least know the chances are that everything has been approved. She felt it was just confusing and she felt if they were going to approve it, they should have what they were approving at that point they are doing that vote.
Councilwoman Mutch felt the only things that should be under P would be the things they were actually going to discuss and since they donít know what those are, then they would have just a generic description saying this is the point at which they discuss anything that was pulled from Item I.
Councilman Schmid recommended proceeding the way they have been and the only person he has ever heard question this was Councilwoman Mutch tonight, so he was wondering if this was a big issue.
Councilman Crawford said what you are suggesting, for example, is to take Item P and pretend that those were actual items, but then actually have that printed at the top of the Agenda so the first page of their Agenda as they look at it, would have primarily Consent Agenda items. Councilwoman Mutch said no it would be under Item I. Councilman Crawford said it would be the first part of their Agenda, as they read it and that first page would have pretty much all Consent items.
Councilman Mitzel asked if they could just have the Clerk maybe have a one sentence explanation under Itemized saying this is where items listed under P are approved and any other ones that are not approved at this point are dealt with at the time of Item P. Councilwoman Mutch felt that would work too. Councilman Crawford said that would still leave their format the same, which is what Mr. Watson said a few minutes ago.
Councilman Crawford asked if there is anything else on the Agenda in particular, that Council wants to discuss.
Mayor McLallen noted under Special Reports, could they come to an understanding about when a Special Report is made, there is no discussion back and forth between this body, and she noticed that it does say further down, Action on Special Reports, but frequently in the evenings when their audience is there, and particularly for example, say it is in the Fuerst Property or an Aquatic item or something that has a lot of citizen interest, there is an anticipation that when the report is made, some discussion is going to happen right then and there.
Mayor McLallen felt it was somewhat awkward and she has had Council Members say that, but she wanted to talk to that matter, and it has been their game plan just to take this in and address it later, but there is an expectation that when this presentation is made, they were going to go into a full-blown discussion, which of course, disrupts the entire flow of the meeting, so she just wanted to hear everyoneís thoughts. She also said if they have a Special Report, maybe they could put in bold letters on the Agenda that it is the third item and then the discussion on the Special Reports will happen under Matters for Discussion. She said but when that person is standing there, this Council will not talk to that person.
Councilman Mitzel said about two years ago, they had Special Reports, and motions were being made during the Special Report and then it was stated something was not on the Agenda or was it on the Agenda, so the original topic he believed in the Rules was that the Special Reports could be for the Presentation and Council Questions or Request For Further Information, so when it does come back for action, they know what they are looking for, but if there is any motion or any action to be taken, then it would have to be on the Agenda.
Councilman Mitzel said somehow they have gotten to the point where in the Special Reports, they talk to them and they say nothing and if they want to say something, then it has to be added, just to say something on the Agenda and that has caused some confusion, because that was not his understanding of the original intent of the Special Reports. He said all they were looking at was if there was a formal action that would be placed underneath Action, but they could still briefly and concisely ask questions such as "well you stated this, when you are ready to come back, could you bring clarification on this."
Councilman Mitzel said because when they did the HCD Funds, he had some questions he could have probably just briefly stated such as "a bikepath on all of East Lake Drive was mentioned, but last year you said South Lake Drive" and he had to go and write a memo that was a page long to get his questions across, which he probably could have stated in just two minutes that night during the Special Reports section.
Mayor McLallen said that is the reason she is asking and possibly they need to create a sub-category where they are not just saying here it is and then by the time there are people who have gotten all of their information together, they do want a response, and maybe they need to say they have a half hour and that is it.
Councilman Mitzel felt they just need to be clear on what they were expecting. He said at one point they had discussed for Special Reports, they were trying to keep it down to 15 minutes and he remembered discussions about that and he would say, all they have to make clear was that it was Special Reports and then say that official Council action, if any, would occur as an Agenda item.
Mayor McLallen said during the report they want an ability to exchange information and Councilman Mitzel said if there is a need to and if there is no need to, then they do not have to talk, but he didnít feel it has been too productive for us to say he has a question and then add it to the Agenda and amend the Agenda just to ask a question. He felt it was easier this way and he knows everyone understands they want to keep these agendas as concise as possible, but have the ability to ask a question or to have a follow-up but not to take any official action at that time, as this is outlined. He felt that would work fine.
Councilman Crawford then asked if they want to take a break as they go along and he also asked if they wanted to adjourn the meeting at 11:00 and he thought they could do this by noon and maybe get through most of it. He asked if they wanted to take a formal break or an informal break. Councilman Mitzel felt between 11:00-11:30 they should adjourn depending upon where they were at.
Councilwoman Mutch said as someone who has appeared in front of Council during Special Reports, she will be the first to say that it was darn frustrating to have spent a lot of time and had people show up for a meeting in support of something and present it and then the Councilís response is like a lead balloon, so she was just looking at it from the point of view of people who make Special Reports.
Councilwoman Mutch said particularly with Citizen Committees or individuals who are going out of their way to do something for the benefit of the City, she would agree with what Councilman Mitzel is saying. She said with no feedback at all, the Council doesnít know whether they have answered all of the questions or whether the Council doesnít care or even whether there are answers right then and there or whether it would require further research. She felt it would be helpful to have something at that point.
Councilwoman Mutch felt the average person would rather be told to not even show up until 9:30 and be given 15 minutes to do their presentation and then Council would respond at that point. She said a person would rather hear that, then come at 8:00 and wait until 9:30 to get no response and then have it discussed at some other point. She said she didnít know how to deal with that, but the Council should try to keep them somewhat close together.
Mayor McLallen suggested saying Special Report and then do that, and then do the presentation and informational questions. She said then there could be a note that action would be taken as an item number and it could be moved under Matters for Council Action. She said it would be noted here as Item #3 under Matters for Council Action, but on those nights that they do have Special Reports, they could make it Item #1 and that way, they could be tied fairly close. She further said under Special Reports and to perhaps answer the concerns which have been very apparent, there could be presentation by the representative of the group and informational questions from Council and then a note that if action is required, it would happen further on and they should not let every person that has a pro or con speak because it is not a special hearing on the issue and that sometimes has been difficult.
Mayor McLallen said that is the parameter and how to focus on the issue and not make it unwieldy but still be much more productive than what they have been.
Councilwoman Mutch said she would assume that a Special Report is something that is on the Agenda by invitation so to speak and a person has been given a time and it wasnít like Audience Participation where a person just shows up and all of a sudden they were part of the meeting. She said so regarding a Special Report, whoever is presenting it, they have their allotted time and they know what to present and if by a person or by a video or six people, that time still stays the same.
Councilman Crawford felt maybe they need to define Special Reports better. He said there were different kinds of Special Reports and there is a Special Report that there is going to be some anticipated action and maybe that should not be really called a Special Report and maybe that should be an action item, and maybe have the report just like a Petitioner in front of them and they could discuss it back and forth and then take action on it.
Councilman Crawford said another Special Report could be as the Chamber of Commerce report of a month or two ago where Mr. Blair Bowman came in and gave them a report and that is an informational Special Report and possibly that is the appropriate place for it on the Agenda at the beginning before they get into action items. He said possibly there is no real discussion that takes place there and it was just a report and they thank them and digest it and it goes away, so possibly they need to better define Special Reports.
Mr. Kriewall said Special Reports typically do not require action, and for example, the Police and Fire Committee Reports back to them, they certainly were not going to take action that evening on whatever the recommendation is and it would have to take some study by City Council, but typically the Special Report does not require action that evening if that is what they consider the Special Report to be. He said if it does require action, it would automatically be listed below as an Agenda item so he didnít think they have any problem.
Councilman Crawford said it should be listed both though if it is going to take action like an HCD and have a Special Report from the HCD Committee and then an action item later. Mr. Kriewall said they have to have a Public Hearing and it was required under HCD and they have that, but normally they sort those out pretty good.
Mr. Kriewall said the exception was the moving or restoration of the Feurst Property or something like that and that is something the Council has to deliberate on, and he felt there were a lot of mixed emotions and feelings as to whether they even do these things, so as a committee member if you feel that you are not getting a response as timely as you should, there is probably a reason for it.
Councilman Schmid said normally Special Reports do not need action and he agreed they should get some feedback and Council should be able to feedback to them, but if it is an action item, it is going to be on the Agenda.
Councilman Mitzel said the Mayorís suggestion of just putting something as a Special Report, saying it is a presentation and no action would be taken at this point, he felt that would be fine and to clarify it and as Councilman Schmid stated and Mr. Kriewall stated, if it needs action, it would be originally placed as an action item.
Councilwoman Cassis commented a full-blown discussion might lead them into either putting it on the Agenda if it isnít, or saying it would come up under a certain item and hold their comments or write down their questions or comments. She felt they could do it.
Mayor McLallen felt these discussions were helpful just as long as we are moving in the same direction, but it has been an awkward thing and she appreciated the comments.
Councilwoman Mutch felt the other thing was if Council knows, all they are going to do is to hear this report, it would be very helpful to say this is not scheduled for any further discussion or action this evening and to check with the Clerk as to when this comes up again, because they sit around waiting and waiting and wondering if it is going to come up later.
Councilman Crawford said the Council might need to say that before a person gives the report, and that they appreciate them being there to give the report, but the Council is not going to discuss it after, if it is the appropriate thing to do, instead of waiting until afterwards and saying thank you, etc.
Councilwoman Cassis said it doesnít mean it is automatic, but if it is an obvious report that the Council is not going to discuss, then maybe it needs to be stated ahead of time.
Councilman Schmid said now the Council is gettting folders of things on the table, and many times it deals with an Agenda item and it is new information that they didnít get Thursday and half of the time he didnít have time to read it, and it is very pertinent to an Agenda item and he asked why did that happen.
Mrs. Bartholomew explained it comes in the mail after the Agendas have gone out and generally, it comes in on Monday and she didnít know if it was because the department heads discover it missing or what, but they show up at her door usually on a Monday. Councilman Schmid said many times it is quite pertinent.
Mr. Kriewall said a lot of it is in response to questions such as what Councilman Mitzel might ask with his memos, so they may get a half dozen memos just responding to the Agenda item.
Councilman Schmid said he is talking about if it is from the department heads or various people and sometimes it changes the picture of what they were talking about.
Councilman Crawford said it may be from the department head or the Attorney, but it is in response to a Council question that has happened over the weekend.
Councilman Mitzel said maybe the Mayor could briefly, when they get to the Agenda items, say there was also on the table that night, a brief letter from so and so.
Councilman Crawford said there has been on occasion talk about something and the Council would get to Audience Participation and he wasnít talking rules so much, but about placement on the Agenda and what could be discussed under that Audience Participation and maybe even eliminating an Audience Participation. He asked do they want to talk about any of that right here since they were talking about Agenda Format.
Councilman Mitzel said under Item #8 they talk about it and Councilman Crawford said that is the Rules, but he was talking about placement on the Agenda but maybe they need to go together.
Councilwoman Mutch said she has been in this position herself and she knows that others have as well. She said using Preservation Novi as an example, that organization was expected to make a report or meet with a committee, and this is no reflection on Mrs. Bartholomew as she wasnít here at the time, but there was no communication to that group whatsoever from the Clerkís Office or the appropriate department head or anyone else as to when and where that meeting was going to take place or that Preservation Novi was expected to present something or there was no conformation of what they were to present.
Councilwoman Mutch said she has heard that from other people so she knows it wasnít an isolated incident and it seems to her as a simple courtesy, if someone is expected to make a presentation to this Council, they should have some confirmation of that in writing and she would expect that would not be a problem for Mrs. Bartholomew and it does need to be in the rules.
Mrs. Bartholomew said what she was attempting to do and again it was because of the time frame and working on it slowly, but she was trying to get follow-up letters out and things of that nature and she has discovered in the past that this is an area that was sorely missed and they have a form in the computer and it was basically a form according to the Council meeting date and the following action that occurred. She indicated it was a form letter that tells them of a meeting that is coming up basically and it was very brief and then if anyone has questions, they can call. She said it at least makes the contact. She indicated the letter has been designed and is in the computer and they are doing that now. Councilwoman Mutch felt that would work.
Councilman Crawford referred to the last paragraph on the Agenda and asked about where it does talk about the unanimous approval, it doesnít mention Roll Call Vote, so their rules would supersede what they were talking about before about a Roll Call Vote for the Consent Agenda and wasnít that mentioned.
Councilman Mitzel indicated the Charter says Roll Call before Ordinances and Councilman Crawford said didnít someone say here that they have to have a Roll Call. Councilman Mitzel commented what happens is they put a second reading of Ordinances on the Consent Agenda at times so by Charter, they were suppose to have a Roll Call Vote, but they are on the Consent Agenda so how do they deal with it, and someone had suggested that other way.
Mrs. Bartholomew said additionally on that very same topic, any time there is money involved, it should have a Roll Call Vote, and there is often times money on the Consent Agenda for purchase or whatever, so as a standard procedure, she would recommend a Roll Call Vote for all Consent Agenda items.
Councilman Crawford asked if Mr. Watson was going to give them an opinion then, whether a unanimous vote is sufficient for a Roll Call Vote, and Mrs. Bartholomew said they were truly two different animals, and unanimous does not include someone that is absent and it doesnít tie it to that particular motion and it is up at the very beginning under Roll Call, but with a Roll Call Vote, if someone from the table gets up and walks into the back room, they were not present at a Roll Call Vote, and that doesnít truly show, so she would recommend a Voice Roll Call Vote for every Consent item.
7. SPECIAL MEETINGS.
Councilman Crawford asked for comments and there were none and he considered there to be no problems with Item #7.
8. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION RULES.
Councilman Crawford said those were the rules that they tried to abide by now and he didnít know if they wanted to discuss what he mentioned about different rules for Audience Participation or eliminating Audience Participation. He said several years ago, they had, and he couldnít remember the exact format at their first Audience Participation, but they only had addressed items that were on the first part of the Agenda, and then the middle Audience Participation was an open format and so was the last. He said that had some merit also and it worked.
Mayor McLallen said the Audience Participation on the balance works very well and every community has people that use it for their own purposes and one of the things that has happened that is not addressed in any of their rules that has been put out before the public, was that members of the Audience have made very strong personal comments, be it on members of this body or members of the staff, which they have no way to respond to or deal with. She said at one time, the City Attorney had drafted some language that would preclude any personal comments being made. She said a lot of them are unsubstantiated and some of them have been libelous and it is just very uncomfortable and very awkward and yet because they have never formally addressed the fact that this is happening, stopping in mid-stream also has been very awkward and of course, it has been abused.
Mayor McLallen said she would like to ask the Council what they think or in what manner they could focus the comments and what is the purpose of Audience Participation. She said is it to call this body to task whenever someone wants to, or is it to present new ideas, because as they all know, certain parties at any given time use it for certain things, and this is a business meeting, as Councilman Schmid has pointed out, and they were not there to be quite the doormat or complaint box or maybe they are, but she felt they need to focus on what is the most beneficial to their community and use of this time, because at any given night as they all know, this particular item on their Agenda can take up to an hour and a half and is that productive to the entire community or is it benefiting a very local minority.
Councilman Mitzel felt generally it functions very well, and the only times he knows that it doesnít, is when they get into the personal attacks and the lewd language and that type of situation, which he was glad doesnít happen all the time. He said but when it does, there is nothing that really says in the rules that it is not allowed and if you try to put it off that night or to object or gavel it down, he felt it would almost make the situation worse because that person or the people that were doing it, would probably just do it more so, so he didnít know really how they could address it with the rules.
Councilman Mitzel felt common courtesy should prevail and personal attacks should not be made, and obscene, rude language should not be used either, but he didnít know how the Council could dictate that. He said true, they could gavel them down, but he didnít know how that would work.
Councilman Mitzel then said he had three other items he would like to mention that were not in their Rules. He said they have had times where people have brought in videos and said they wanted to show a video while they were talking and they go back there and play it and the Council has no idea what would be on that tape during Audience Participation and he didnít think it was a good idea. He said also at their last meeting and the first time he has ever remembered, someone got up and said they wanted to defer their comments, and then when it came to that time, they said they would relinquish them to so and so, and he didnít feel they should be doing that either.
Councilman Mitzel said also he had a question as to whether the Council even wants to allow people to defer comments. He said if they have Audience Participation for the Agenda items, then he felt that is where the comments should be made, otherwise you are going to open it up and eventually evolve into Audience Participation before each and every item by everyone standing up and saying they want to talk to Item #2, and they take two minutes to say they wanted to talk to Item #2 and now they have deferred their comments and they are back up at Item #2.
Councilman Mitzel said those were the three areas that they were silent on, and he had concerns with and the Council probably could object and rule them out, but unless they are in writing, someone might challenge them.
Councilman Mitzel said generally Audience Participation is working fairly well and sometimes it is long and he guessed that was just a given with their community and he would say if there is a way to address the language and such, then maybe that could be done and then he had those other three concerns.
Councilwoman Mutch said going back to what Mayor McLallen was talking about and Councilman Mitzel referring back to how the Audience chooses to express themselves, it states that there would be no clapping or disapproval, etc., but what both of them were talking about goes beyond that. She felt Ms. Laura Lorenzo on the Commission has been an outstanding example of how they could do this, not just with the Audience, but she has done it with Planning Commissioners and that in itself is an accomplishment. She said as soon as it is apparent by someoneís language or by the focus of their remarks that it is inappropriate, Ms. Lorenzo just jumps in there and indicates that personal attacks will not be tolerated. She said there is no way to prevent someone from saying something before you know what they have said, but you could certainly say they wouldnít be tolerated.
Councilman Mutch said initially, there would be some negative response to that, but she felt most people in general appreciate the fact that it is not going to be tolerated and as long as it is fairly applied, she didnít think it would be a problem.
Councilwoman Mutch said she was also going to bring up, if Councilman Mitzel hadnít, about this deferring business, because they donít say really whether someone has three minutes on an item or three minutes in general. She said she is assuming the way it is written, a person has three minutes, three different times during this meeting, and they could say whatever they want, provided it is appropriate.
Councilwoman Mutch said if they do allow someone to defer those three minutes, it is their three minutes, and the opportunity is there for them to speak and it is not something they own that they could then transfer to someone else, and she didnít buy that argument at all because in the case where the attorney representing New Bangkok, had his three minutes to speak on that issue, what he got was an additional six minutes, and she didnít think that should have happened.
Councilman Mutch said she knows from what was said, there wasnít a way to prevent it, but she felt that is what a gavel is for. Councilman Schmid said that is the only time ever where he has seen that happen. Councilwoman Mutch said she could guarantee that it would happen again and she felt there has been so much comment about it that it has been discovered as a new tool. She gave another example of where something didnít happen before and now it happens all the time, and eats up time and that is where someone gives them a three-page letter, and the Council gets it in their packets and has every opportunity to review it, and they get up to Audience Participation and read that letter, but what they were finding was the Secretary of the Commission was also reading the letter as correspondence that has been received.
Councilman Schmid said with all due respect, the rule they have had was donít tell me how you used to do it in Colorado and he didnít care how the Planning Commission did it and Councilwoman Mutch said she only brought it up because it had worked.
Councilman Clark agreed with the comments made thus far and he felt the Audience Participation in this community works very well. He said he has been to other communities where either it is limited or it is raucous to the point where he has seen citizens being escorted out because things have gotten totally out of hand. He felt both the Council in this community and the citizens are very responsible in respecting each otherís rights and the Council in allowing and affording the citizens an opportunity to express their First Amendment Rights to free speech and to address the Council on the issues that they feel are of concern.
Councilman Clark agreed with the comment that perhaps they need something to define how it is going to function so that people realize that this is not the Congress of the United States where they were going to give their time to someone else because the comments that were made a moment ago, were correct, and they could use it as a tool and a vehicle to control, if not the meeting, certainly that portion of the meeting that constitutes Audience Participation.
Councilman Clark felt maybe the Council needs something in here that clearly says if a person is recognized by the Mayor during Audience Participation and they have three minutes to address the Council, they must now use the three minutes and they canít give them to someone else. He said if that other person wants to stand up and be recognized, that was fine and they will have their opportunity, but when they stand up and asked to be recognized and have been recognized, now is the three minutes and the clock begins to run and it was not something that was going to bounce back and forth like a rubber ball.
Councilman Clark said he agreed with the comment that perhaps they need something to define how it is going to function so people realize that this is not the Congress of the United States, where we are going to give our time to someone else because the comments that were made a moment ago were correct and they could use it as a tool and a vehicle to control, if not the meeting, certainly that portion of the meeting.
Councilwoman Mutch said she did recall when the City Council met at the Library Building, and she didnít remember who else was on the Council but she knows Pat Karevich was on at the time, Mr. Leo Buffa was recognized and he was doing a speech on constitutional issues or whatever the matter was, and there was a stream of people after his three minutes, who came up to the podium and said, "I defer my three minutes to Mr. Buffa," and he never left his position and those people kept getting up from the Audience and sitting down and the only interruption in this half hour speech was the stream of people every three minutes saying they deferred to Mr. Buffa.
Councilwoman Cassis felt Councilman Schmid made a good point and they have had their first instance, something that for some individuals might have been uncomfortable, a deferring of time, but she felt if they look at the large issue of what might be going on there, it is just an access to Council to be able to speak and for an individual to respond to things that are ongoing.
Councilwoman Cassis said Audience Participation allows someone three minutes under their First Amendment Rights and it is a prime reason that we exist to get citizen input and they have three minutes to do so and it is fair and everyone has that opportunity and it is equally applied. She said but if there is an item that is on the Agenda, in addition, that seems to have some importance to that individual, and she felt they should be able to know that they have the right to ask the Chair, "could I please speak under that item," so that they donít have to bypass and come up with creating ways of getting into the meat or the heart of the discussion that is on an Agenda item. She said she would not have a problem with that because she felt typically the Chair does have the ability to control even that portion of an Audience member speaking on an item.
Councilwoman Cassis said she did not find the same difficulty with people being involved and she had to say that because quite frankly that is how she got her start in the City and others too by having an opportunity to speak before Council, before Planning Commission and they have set parameters that she felt generally work and she was supportive of it, but she wouldnít want people to have to find all kinds of creative solutions to get into the body of an Agenda or to be automatically omitted from that opportunity, because she felt there were ways the Chair could facilitate that as well.
Councilman Crawford felt they have an opportunity now to address that specific problem and he felt if they didnít do it now, it would be a problem. He said going back to the incident that did occur, he wouldnít have had any problem at the time if that Attorney for Bangkok had said, "I would like to speak to that issue," and Councilman Crawford said he would have given him ten minutes because it affected him and his client and it was relevant to that topic, but he did have a problem with someone requesting to speak and then deferring it and he felt they need to eliminate that problem.
Councilman Crawford felt the Chair has always been very liberal in letting people speak to the issue when it comes up on the Agenda and particularly if it affects them and in a lot of cases, it really wasnít a direct affect other than the citizen of the community and we have allowed people to speak on issues.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if we could come up with one statement that could easily be put in here to address that and Councilman Crawford asked Mr. Watson if he had any suggestions and Mr. Watson indicated he could come up with something.
Councilman Mitzel said first he wanted to see if there is a consensus for that because he didnít agree. Councilman Crawford said a consensus of what and Councilman Mitzel said of whether deferral from the first Audience Participation should be allowed to Agenda items. He said his concern is that most people follow it where that is the first Audience Participation and they make comments such as, "I am here to talk about Item #2," and they make their comments beginning with everyone else and a few people will say they want to talk to Item #2 but they want to talk to it at Item #2.
Councilman Mitzel said his concern was that at what point is it going to turn into just like the Planning Commission where it is a public hearing. He said the Planning Commission has already held the public hearing on a lot of these issues and have made their recommendations that comes to Council and now they were going to have people getting up and doing the public hearing again right before that Agenda item, having the Petitioner re-present and we are repeating the work of the Planning Commission at that point and that was his concern.
Councilman Mitzel said the Council already provides the mechanism for the Audience to address any item on the Agenda within three minutes at the beginning of the meeting before any action is taken and even before the Consent Agenda is taken, so he didnít feel deferral to the Agenda item should occur and he didnít think relinquishing time to another person should occur, and he didnít think a video should be brought and put over the cable TV. He said those were things he would advocate that they add in the rules, and he felt there was also a general consensus that in Item D, that we could put in some language in addition to the no comments by clapping, voice, whatever, that the comments shall be respectful and no personal attacks or obscene language would be tolerated or something to that effect. He felt that may be important because it is live over cable TV and he felt there should be a mechanism specially for obscene language.
Councilman Mitzel said going back to the deferral issue, he didnít agree with the deferring and he felt we provide Audience Participation three times during the meeting and the first time is before a good chunk of the Agenda items, the second time is before remaining Agenda items and the third is at the end and it provides ample time to address any of those Agenda items during the three minutes and it keeps the meeting flowing. He said that was his view and they still have the opportunity there and if we are going to do it the other way, then he felt we could tell the Planning Commission they donít have to do that work and we will do all the work for them and let them do other work.
Councilman Crawford said he could appreciate what he was saying but letís assume we did defer someone to speak at the item, the intent would then be that they had three minutes to speak and maybe they are not going to use their Audience Participation time then and they are going to do it when we are actually discussing the item.
Councilman Mitzel said then his point is why have the Audience Participation. He said using Orchard Ridge as an example, if this was a subdivision coming in right now, they would hold a public hearing for Tentative Preliminary Plat Approval, woodlands/wetlands, etc., and they would make a recommendation to come to Council. He said they still have the opportunity to talk about it at this table at Audience Participation at the beginning.
Councilman Mitzel said but now letís say it was a hot topic and there are 20 people that spoke at Planning Commission and all 20 still show up at City Council and they all deferred their comments to Item #2, we then in essence are doing exactly what the Planning Commission did and we are holding the public hearing at the beginning of that item, and we are going through the whole thing, and why did we have the Planning Commission do that work for us as Council is repeating the work.
Councilman Mitzel said the format will then just become like the Planning Commission and he felt this is relevant because it is related and he didnít want the Council running in circles here and doing the work that the Planning Commission has already done or another board has already done.
Councilman Crawford asked what about the liquor license case that was before Council the other night, and that was somewhat different and that gentleman wanted to represent his client and when was the appropriate time and Councilman Mitzel said at the beginning of the meeting, where he made his comments for three minutes.
Mayor McLallen said he really didnít make any new comments at the second meeting and he just made them all over again.
Councilman Clark said you could also take the position that you had a number of people in the audience that deferred to him and gave him their three minutes and you could basically say, this constitutes really a group and you had your three minutes and if you are a group, a group gets five minutes and you have two additional minutes and that is it.
Councilman Crawford said you could get someone up there talking for 15 minutes and if they were deferred by groups, three times.
Councilwoman Mutch said we have an old television here, thinking that the only time these people can speak to these issues or provide Council with additional information or their opinion or anything else, is during Audience Participation, but the fact is one of the reasons that you are required to have a published Agenda for the public to see and the reason why you have a packet over at the Library for example and available at the Clerkís Office, is so people can see these things are coming up and as Councilman Mitzel has pointed out, many of these things appear before another body before they come here and there are opportunities there to address it and the fact is you donít have to appear at that podium in order to have input or impact.
Councilwoman Mutch said she would be less inclined to be more organized and managed about it because with her own personal and professional background, the First Amendment means everything to her and she would have to agree with Councilwoman Cassia, that is how she got to where she is too, by being involved in a lot of different things in the community and speaking out before many bodies, so she felt it was not a matter of eliminating or stifling people, but it is how do you manage that input in a way that is beneficial to Council and allow them to feel that they have had a receptive audience and that it has been timed in a way that if someone wants to influence a decision, then in fact, it occurs prior to the decision and not after and you are not restricted so the Audience was only commenting on actions taken but have some influence prior.
Councilwoman Mutch said she agreed with Councilman Mitzel and Crawford, that deferral to her is not really a good idea because it is going to lead them to these other areas. She felt if you are a person that is in the Audience, you want to have your comments as close to the discussion of the item and decision as possible because if you are going to have influence, you want to be fresh in someoneís mind. She said the most effective way to do that is your comments have been in writing or graphically presented prior to the meeting so you have already laid the groundwork, but not everyone can do that.
Councilwoman Mutch felt what they appear to be addressing are the problems that occur when you have people who show up at the meeting and donít even realize something is going to be on the Agenda until they pick it up at the beginning of the meeting and all of a sudden, they decide they want to comment on it. She said she had no problem with them commenting on it, but she didnít see any reason why their comments should extend beyond the three minutes each of the three times that is already scheduled on the Agenda.
Councilman Crawford felt they agree on what is already here and there was an addition of a proposed D, and then also he felt they needed to address what Councilman Mitzel has spoken of. He asked what was D, and Councilman Mitzel said D was something about the language and personal attacks and such, and he didnít have a problem with someone raking this Council as a whole over the coals, but he didnít feel it should be personal against someone or degrading against anyone in the Audience, Council, staff or anyone and he didnít feel it was professional or appropriate.
Councilwoman Cassia asked Councilman Mitzel where is that fine line and that is the difficulty and who calls it. She felt we have the opportunity when things become less than appropriate for the Mayor who is in charge of the meeting to ask that they focus on the topic and to watch and be more cautious of their language.
Councilwoman Cassia felt that was appropriate but she did not know who is going to make that judgement call on what becomes just something libelous, when it is libelous and when it is just as you said, someone making a comment that you donít like - the way a particular Council member voted on a particular issue or something like that, because we have had both.
Councilman Cassia said that is her problem with it and how is the call made and in terms of rules and everything, you can put language in there but then it is the interpretation.
Councilman Mitzel asked Mr. Watson the way the rules were currently written, would the Chair have the authority to basically rule someone out of order based on the language they are using or the comments being something that no decent person would tolerate and is that ability in there right now.
Mr. Watson replied not in these rules for Audience Participation and essentially there is really not a lot of limitation put on the speaker other than they have to be recognized and they have to be within their time limit and he felt that is the kind of the thing you are getting at when you limit the audience for comment by voice, clapping or otherwise, to avoid that rudeness of a disruptive nature, so he felt it might just be some very, very limited language.
Councilman Mitzel said he didnít want to limit the content of what they are saying but he just didnít want improper language being used, not so much for our sake but it does go live over Cable television.
Mr. Watson said it really doesnít have to be anything all that restrictive. Councilman Mitzel said that all he is looking for is something that would give the Chair the authority to say, "donít use that type of language" or something like that.
Mayor McLallen said she was pleased the way this was going and one of her goals in this discussion has been what can we do to enable the majority of the public to use Audience Participation the most efficiently and thereby do what Councilman Mitzel and Councilwoman Mutch are pointing out. She said the function of this Council is to be the ultimate business organization policy-setting board in this City, not to rehash what other boards, commissions and administrative areas have done and historically we have probably taken too much to this table and we need to tighten up those issues and so she agreed with the comments that have been made on having three Audience Participations and clarifying to the public that this is their time under Audience Participation, and to get their information clarified.
Mayor McLallen said they have been so open that we have put ourselves at the mercy of the public and we have all sat here on nights when people come because they were curious, but then as the conversation got on, they become imbolded and where initially only four people were going to talk, suddenly fifteen people were talking and not one of them, other than adding to the size of the voice, have changed the message.
Mayor McLallen said so part of it is to educate the citizens to their responsibility to come forward more prepared. She said the Council is a volunteer body with very limited time and our charge is to function most efficiently and the most clearly we can for the City and so we have to find that balance again that enables us to do that and we have gone so open that anyone can have any access whatsoever, which impedes our ability to go forward. She said sometimes people come here to merely vent their frustrations and they have tried every other avenue they can within the administration and are absolutely frustrated with the results they have found.
Mayor McLallen said they really want nothing more of us than a public way to say they are unhappy and there is nothing we can do other than give them three minutes, but we donít want those three minutes to spill over and then bring in fourteen more people that are unhappy because there is nothing productive there.
Mayor McLallen said their whole goal is to be productive for our citizens and as Councilwoman Cassis and Councilwoman Mutch pointed out, the constraint is how to do it as broadly and positively as possible and yet keeping that goal in mind that we have to be a productive efficient body, which by the nature of the beast is real interesting, so she felt the comments were going very well.
Mayor McLallen said she had one other issue and there is probably no tactful way to get to it. She said there are several people who are before us on a regular basis representing organizations and we have made a time frame in here saying if you have a position from an organization, you will be granted a larger amount of time to speak. She would say that the majority of the people in that position are very good about using it in a pointed manner. She said other parties just say they are part of this organization and need five minutes and just use it as a forum and she would also like to tighten that up.
Mr. Kriewall said along with this general discussion, we have one or two individuals who repeatedly make personal attacks on the department heads, staff, and occasionally Council members when they come forward. He said they have had staff who have copied the City Clerkís tapes historically and have gone to attorneys to see if they could actually come back at these people because of the libelous comments that have been made and our attorneys even told us that there isnít really much they can do as we are public officials.
Mr. Kriewall asked if there is anything we can put in under Audience Participation that just says no personal attacks will be allowed and if you give that message to the people and hand out a card and lay out the rules each time they come forward, maybe they would finally get the message. He said unfortunately, there are some personal attacks that border on libelous and we have some very frustrated department heads who have kept written logs and have copied the tapes from the meetings and they canít understand why they can be attacked by people with seemingly no means of putting an end to it and these attacks are unwarranted.
Mr. Watson said he has received calls from a number of department heads at various times over the years when things have been said about them during meetings, in agony over the things that have been stated and what it relates to is we use the phrase, "personal attack." He said if you want to exclude personal attacks, the thing you donít want to exclude and where the fine line occurs, is comments on the operation of the City that essentially relate to the function of the single person. He felt no matter what you do, you will have difficulty in stopping those kinds of attacks without infringing upon comments about the functioning of the City.
Mr. Watson explained the reason why none of those officials or department heads have ever brought forward a libel suit was because the standards for a libel law is that if you are a public official or it is a matter of public concern, that it is a much higher threshold of whether you can bring an action or not, and in addition to being a defamatory falsehood, there is a standard that says that the person who makes the attack has to know that it is false or has to act in a reckless disregard of whether it is true or false and it is a difficult standard to meet. He said he would think that it is not so much eliminating personal attacks, as limiting the nature of peopleís comments, and whether they are profane or use that type of language, but he didnít know if there is any way of preventing it.
Mr. Watson said essentially the Open Meetings act says you have to have an Audience Participation at a meeting and you can establish reasonable rules to govern that Audience Participation but you have to have essentially an outlet for the community to make public comment on anything that pertains to the business of that body. He said you have all commented a number of times today that you are answerable to the citizens and ultimately anything that anyone is dissatisfied with in the operation of the City, if they canít get satisfaction elsewhere, they are going to end up here, so he felt it really boils down not to whether someone can make a comment on a particular individual, but trying to establish some sort of reasonable rules for the nature in which those comments are made at the meeting.
Mayor McLallen said essentially that is what you are saying that there is a more formal way to say that, and Mr. Watson said he could work on some language to try and do that and it is not, in all instances going to be an easy thing to answer because there is a fine line between a department head doing something because he is incompetent, versus the person has a vendetta against that department head.
Councilman Clark said he was going to suggest for consideration under Item D, at the end of the sentence where it says, "showing approval or disapproval of any remarks of the speaker or members of the public body," to add the following language: "or personal attacks, rude, vulgar or abusive language." He said it doesnít mean that people are not going to be able to speak. He said they would have some decisions of the Supreme Court saying that a certain language, which all of them would probably agree in most instances was not appropropriate, but still protected by free speech in the First Amendment, but at least it gives the public a sense that we are all here trying to conduct the publicís business in a reasonable fashion and to treat each other with dignity and courtesy and we would expect the same from the members of the Audience, just as they would from Council.
Councilman Clark felt it sets the tone for the meeting at least and it gives them an idea of where we are hoping to go because if you get into a situation where someone came in and was intoxicated for example and started rambling on and using all kinds of abusive language he would certainly think that would merit that person out of order, whether he had three minutes or not.
Councilman Schmid said letís go back to this set of rules. He felt this is a relatively new concept for the City of Novi and this same set of rules started in 1991 and still within a few minutes, wouldnít be done because they all would be leaving and it would be an unfinished item. He said he saw this as a set of rules that gives some credence as to how the Council is going to act and it really has nothing to do with the audience and this isnít a Charter and it is not a legal document, and it really has no power except the Council may agree that we agree to try and follow these rules and really the Mayor has the power to follow the rules.
Councilman Schmid said he did not feel they would control anyone sitting out in the Audience and the rules were not a legal document or a Charter and they were nothing.
Councilman Crawford felt this has some bearing and it is our policy of rules and he felt it has some power to it. Councilman Schmid said the only power it has is what this Council will allow the Mayor to do or any other person on the Council, and that is the only power it has, and they were coming to some agreements as to how the Mayor is allowed to do the Audience Participations and so on.
Councilman Clark said he would agree with his comments and he is correct when you get into the area of Audience Participation and when you talk about how that is going to be handled, he felt it gets beyond the scope of the Council table and says this is how you can address the Council with your concerns or complaints, whatever the issues might be , but just like in every other phase of life, there are certain rules and regulations everyone has to follow and this is how we are going to deal with it.
Councilman Schmid asked what would be the penalty and would we throw them out of the Audience or have the police take them out or would they get a fine. He said if the Mayor should not want someone to talk three minutes and if he hasnít agreed with that, then he would say to the Mayor, that is a citizen of this City and that person could talk as long as he or she wants if they havenít agreed to the concept of these rules. He said they donít have to shut up until someone pulls that person out of here.
Councilman Clark felt it would get down to judgement again.
Councilman Schmid said he was frustrated with the rules in the first place, other than he felt it was good for the Council to have some general idea of how they want to run the business.
Councilman Schmid indicated in fact, when the Mayor did it, it was the first time he ever saw the Mayor allow anyone in the Audience to defer their comments until the subject item and as Councilman Mitzel pointed out, they have public hearings at the Planning Commission and this is not a public hearing unless they have special public hearings and occasionally the Council has public hearings. He said in the old days, we used to have public hearings in a big Auditorium, as Councilwoman Cassis would recall and she had talked for many minutes as did many others and as he has. He felt it was frustrating not to be able to talk, but he has never seen it happen where they defer, except maybe on the extreme special occasions, so she was the first Mayor that he ever saw do it.
Mayor McLallen felt that has happened maybe about three times. Councilman Schmid said he was not being critical of her, and in some ways it is nice for the people to be able to do it, but he did feel you get into this habit and pretty soon with every topic that comes up, they are going to be asking to defer, so he agreed with Councilman Mitzel.
Councilman Schmid said he gets frustrated when people stand up here and talk and have a problem and we say thank you and ask that Mr. Kriewall look into it. He felt many times they should answer the question or at least address the issue, and he felt they should allow Mr. Kriewall, as Manager of the City, to comment occasionally on items that he could probably resolve, rather than just getting no answer at all and getting no satisfaction. He felt occasionally, the Council should at least explain something and half the time, he felt it was something that could be explained and other times, it was something that would have to be checked into.
Councilman Crawford said regarding the language, we might include in here about rude comments, etc., and rude is very difficult to define and it has to be left to the discretion of the Chair, but there are diplomatic ways of doing it and you donít wait until someone has spoken three minutes and say, "Okay Mr. Joe Blow, your three minutes are up and sit down." He said they just donít do that as it would not be appropriate. He said but as the Mayor has done on several occasions, you tactfully say you are approaching your three minutes and it makes the situation a little more comfortable. He said it would be the same way if someone was using profane language, etc., whatever the Chair would deem inappropriate, there are ways to handle that such as, "Could you please stick to the point," and there are ways to say it without saying, "You canít say that, sit down." He felt that was not the way to handle the situation and it has to be left to the discretion of the Chair.
Councilman Crawford felt it was important that it was in their document so that there is a little backing to the discretion of the Chair to make those kinds of comments and that things were rude or inappropriate.
Councilman Crawford commented on Councilman Schmidís suggestion that on occasion, the Council or the Mayor or the City Manager may respond to Audience Participation. He said he would be very much opposed to that and he felt it has the potential to do much more harm than good. He said on a very few occasions, there may be a simple one-sentence answer that would satisfy that person, but he felt it just opens up all sorts of possibilities.
Councilman Crawford said for example, it might be asked, "When is the widening of Ten Mile going to happen," and the Manager may say, "We are not even going to bid it for six months," and then there may be another dialogue of , "Well, I donít want you to bid it," and he felt they could really open up all sorts of possibilities and that may be an extreme example, but he felt it was better left not to say anything by members and let it be an official response from Staff or individual Council members if that is more appropriate, so he would not want to see the dialogue go back and forth at Audience Participation between this table and the Audience.
Councilman Schmid said he had never mentioned this table and he had said the Mayor would respond and Councilman Crawford said the Mayor is here and the City Manager is here and Councilman Schmid said Councilman Crawford had mentioned Council members and Councilman Crawford said too much may have been read into his suggestion that if someone addressed an individual Council member, that maybe it would be appropriate and he didnít feel it was appropriate for anyone to answer period , the Council, Staff, or Mayor in his opinion.
Councilman Schmid felt it was ridiculous if they have a simple answer that would resolve the issue that night, and Councilman Crawford said he was afraid it could escalate more than they wanted it to.
Councilman Schmid said regarding the example, "When is Ten Mile going to be built," he felt that Mr. Kriewall could say, "There are no plans yet to build it," and that would be it.
Councilman Crawford said then the potential for it to escalate beyond that simple comment was greater.
Councilwoman Mutch said she saw a middle ground, which is sometimes that it is easy to respond, but the danger is that people do not necessarily go through the already established channels or City structure and they bring it right to Council. She felt maybe the middle ground is when someone says something that is a request for additional information or a response of some kind, there were two ways to deal with it and one is a concern to us and she was assuming they could bring it up sometime later in the meeting under Matters Raised by Council Members, but then secondly, if it appears that they are asking for some sort of a response, why canít the Mayor just respond by saying to Mr. Kriewall, "Could you see that someone would respond to this question," or he could even indicate who would be responding, if he wanted to.
Councilman Crawford commented they do state that response and Councilwoman Mutch said not every time and additionally, they may say something so simple that Mr. Kriewall could see them during the next break or whatever.
Councilman Crawford commented quite often too, people before us have had a response several times, and they donít like the answer and if we ask Mr. Kriewall to respond to it, he is going to give the same answer that they have already had that three times and then that may have a dialogue.
Councilman Mitzel then said there have been several items that they should probably see whether there is a consensus on. He said one was that he thought everyone agrees about relinquishing time to someone else and it sounded like there was general agreement that they would say they canít do that.
Councilman Mitzel indicated the other item was with people bringing in a video to put over the Cable and he just wondered if there was a general consensus that it wouldnít be allowed during Audience Participation. He said possibly during a special report but not during Audience Participation.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if it was possible that if someone would have something that could be graphically illustrated, it would be all right as long as they have cleared it and have actually handed it to someone who has been able to see what it is. Mayor McLallen said she would say if they have it 5:00 on Wednesday so that it could be previewed as to whether it was appropriate and Councilman Mitzel said maybe at this time, we could just say it is not allowed and maybe someone could look into how guidelines could be prepared as he didnít want to try and develop guidelines now. Councilwoman Mutch said she was just indicating there is that possibility that would avoid the problem you are talking about.
Councilman Mitzel said the other item was the language in Subsection D concerning profanity or personal attacks, and he didnít know what specific language it was, but there seemed to be general agreement that something should be put in there because as Mr. Watson said, as of right now, the Chair wouldnít have the authority to tell someone, please donít say profanity or whatever.
Councilwoman Cassis asked if that comment was accurate and Councilman Mitzel thought Mr. Watson had stated that and Councilwoman Cassis asked if the Chair could say to at least contain your comments.
Mr. Watson said you have an Ordinance that provides it is unlawful for any person to refuse to comply with an order or a directive of the person in charge of the meeting of a public body, when that person in charge is requesting compliance with the rules established and recorded by the public body for conduct of persons addressing a meeting of the public body. He said in other words, they are to comply with Councilís directive when it is in accordance with rules you have adopted.
Councilman Mitzel said as of right now, you said our rules wouldnít, and Mr. Watson said yes, he was assuming that the provisions or these 7-8 items A-G are the only things you have adopted as to Audience Participation and there may be other Ordinances that deal with disorderly conduct, but nothing that really you could apply with any convenience. He said he could come up with some language.
Councilman Mitzel said then the last item was whether or not someone could defer from the three Audience Participations to a specific item and he wasnít sure how that went and it seems like some favored it and some didnít and he wasnít sure what the general consensus was and he had made his point and he was in favor and Mayor McLallen said she also agreed.
Councilman Crawford said they should discuss that specific item and he asked if there were comments or a consensus on that item.
Councilman Clark said if a person is recognized by the Chair and if they have come here and asked to be recognized to address the Council and once they have been recognized, then they are at the podium and they have their three minutes and they cannot hand it off like a football.
Councilman Crawford said they have had lot split people in, for example, and they have come up not knowing the procedure, but something was directly affecting them and it wasnít like someone in a subdivision to the south, talking about a liquor license in the north area, because other than the fact that they are a citizen of Novi, it wasnít a direct effect on them.
Councilwoman Cassia said what she was thinking about deferring is the time during the discussion that isnít within the Agenda itself and there are some things someone might want to comment on that comes up in relationship to the discussion that you canít anticipate during Audience Participation, something that you might want say that is a reaction to something. She said it may be that this Council does not want individual Audience members to react to something that is going on because if they have to do it after the item is already voted on, that is a total frustration, and it was too late.
Councilwoman Cassis said in essence, you curtail their opportunity to have input and you may want that, but she did not see a huge problem in allowing it to occur and if it becomes a problem, then yes, but she didnít see a problem and she hasnít in the past, so that is the difference she is seeing.
Councilman Crawford asked when do you cut that off though, and at what point is the last point, and Councilwoman Cassis felt that takes some sensitivity to what is going on and she has seen it done, and she has observed the Planning Commission in a very effective fashion do it and she has seen Councilman Clark and Planning Commissioner Lorenzo do it and that after an individual has made comments, then when it becomes a Council discussion itself, there is no longer input taken.
Councilwoman Cassis said for example, say a Petitioner has comments that someone would like to respond to, that would be their time, but once it goes to Council discussion or once it goes to Planning Commission discussion, there is no longer a back and forth discussion. She felt what they want to eliminate or be cautious about is direct debate Council with members of the Audience. She said there is a mechanism for that because once we start our own Council discussion, there is no longer dialogue with the Audience.
Councilman Schmid said he had no problem with this and he always wanted more participation from the audience. He said on those items where you have public hearings, this is what happens more often than not, where you have public hearings on the Planning Commission, and that is the public hearing and that is where the public can talk and they can come here and talk for three minutes or whatever the Mayor will allow, but to allow a second public hearing on that same issue, which is really what you are doing, is probably cumbersome.
Councilman Schmid said now having said that, there are times at the discretion of the Mayor, where there is a need for additional input from someone from the Audience and he couldnít think of an example now, but perhaps a lot split, but possibly there are times when it is absolutely necessary that someone be heard in order to clarify the issue, and he felt it has to be discretionary from the Mayor.
Councilman Crawford said it appears to him to be the last item of a lot of discussion and the other items they may be able to zip through and get a general consensus on the rest because this needs to come to Council for an action item and perhaps they could propose an amendment if they had a specific problem with any of these other items, and he may be wrong, but he was trying to get through this document that has been in the making for several years and get it to an action item of Council with the least effort. He felt they were through the tough things that require a lot of discussion.
Councilman Schmid said his only comment was if he felt they could get it done, but he didnít think they could.
Councilman Crawford said there are a lot of pages, but if you look at the Boards and Commissions established by Charter Ordinance, that is all pretty much there, and if they could go another 15 minutes, perhaps they could wrap it up.
Councilman Mitzel said he didnít think they could get through it today because they were talking about doing quarterly interview sessions and a lot of discussion and what he would suggest is that they have gone all the way up to Item #9 with a general consensus. Councilman Crawford said they still need to wrap up Item #8 and Councilman Mitzel felt they just did and Councilman Crawford said he didnít think they had a consensus on that last item about deferring.
Councilman Crawford asked regarding deferring time to speak to an Agenda item, what is the consensus of Council on that, and it was stated no to deferring time. Councilman Crawford said there looks to be a consensus of Council not to defer, in other words, they speak at Audience Participation on an Agenda item.
Councilman Mitzel said what he would suggest right now is he agreed with Councilman Schmid that they should wrap this up at noon, and the Council has reached a consensus all the way up to Item #9, so for Items 1-8 they have reached a consensus and they could have the City Clerk make the changes that they asked for and bring it back to Council. He explained what they could do is an amendment to their existing rules and get those in place and at least they would have accomplished up to that point. He said then they would have to schedule some other time to go through the remaining items because he felt they would have to do the same type of process through the remainder of the rules.
Councilman Mitzel said Items #1-8 right now are existing in our rules and we can just amend them, especially the ones with the names and the meeting times, 7:30 PM and those they have a consensus on and could put them in place right now, so they are in place for the beginning of the year. He said he didnít know when they would get through Items #9 to the end, but at least they then have a tangible product and Councilman Crawford said they could bring that back at a meeting for adoption.
Councilman Mitzel said they could bring it back to the meeting for adoption, and get Items #1-8 in place and try to address Items #9 through to the end.
Councilman Crawford asked if they could go a little beyond in the next few minutes if there are no objections. He said for instance the Cable TV Policy and unless someone has an objection, they wouldnít do it and would bring it up for discussion, but it is what they have been doing. He felt most people concur and that is just an example and then there is also Repeal, Rescind, and Voting and a Quorum of four members and he asked could they adopt some of those items and Mayor McLallen said she would like to say they could go through to Item #12.
Councilwoman Cassis aid she would like to have time to really look at them and she felt now there is a rush. She stated they have accomplished a lot and she felt they were already starting to talk about a format whereby in their regular meetings they set some type of a deadline and then they carry over, and she felt today was a good beginning to see that they could actually do that. She indicated she was not prepared to really continue on today and she thought this meeting was between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM originally and she would feel more comfortable if they could get through the Cable TV Policy, and she felt Councilman Mitzelís comment was well taken to try and adopt what they have and bring it back to the Council table so they could say what they have legitimately established.
Councilman Crawford said he wanted to point out that some of this is already adopted, in other words, our standard of conduct and he didnít think that has changed, but it might have, but our Cable TV Policy is already adopted. Councilman Mitzel commented Items 10, 11 and 12 may be verbatim of what is existing so they may not need to change those.
Councilman Crawford said so just because they donít go on today and adopt it, it still may be in effect but what they have adopted will change what is already in effect.
Councilwoman Mutch said she had one last comment on Item D under Audience Participation and they talked about how they couldnít control what the audience was going to say and how the Council has to respond and react once they have crossed the line. She said in terms of language and personal attacks, etc., they should phrase it in such a way that says the Council would not tolerate this as opposed to saying it will not happen. She felt that would give the Mayor something to fall back on.
Councilwoman Mutch said she was confident that it wouldnít happen with this particular group of people, but it was solely at the discretion of the Chair at the meeting whether something is varying over the edge, and there may be other members of this Council who would object, and by saying it wouldnít be tolerated allows members of the Council to push the Chair to gavel or do whatever necessary to control the person.
Councilman Clark suggested tagging on the four words to the language that he had suggested, "will not be tolerated."
Councilman Schmid said they were not going to talk about the Cable TV and Councilman Crawford said they were going to stop at Item #8. He then asked a question and said Councilman Toth used to talk a lot about it, which he thought had some merit, but Channel 13 is 99% vacant and it has information about how many Committees there are over and over again and he asked was there any reason why Council meetings or other meetings couldnít be run again.
Councilman Crawford explained because they do not tape them, and the telecasts are done live and they donít tape them for a lot of reasons.
Councilman Crawford then said the action of todayís meeting is that the Council was going to bring back as an action item to adopt Items #1-8 and they should also bear in mind that some of the other items are still policy, for instance, the Cable TV Policy and a few others are still policy, but at another meeting, they would take a look at those and then hopefully wrap this up.
Councilman Crawford said seeing no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 P.M.
MAYOR CITY CLERK