Item 5D: AMEND CITY COUNCIL AGENDA to MOVE COUNCILMEMBER COMMENTS TO END OF MEETING [J. HEILMAN, C. BYERS, Y. QUARKER, A. LOVANO]:
On Dec. 19, Council members John Heilman and Chelsea Byers were sworn into office. The “people’s business” did not start until 2 1/2 hours later.
A reserved, newly elected Heilman held his first council member comments to the end of the meeting, respecting the time of the night and the business of the city as priorities. Mayor Pro Tem Shyne then spoke for over 16 minutes, seemingly oblivious to the main principles of the West Hollywood City Council meeting. Shyne spent a majority of that time putting the people of Iran’s business ahead of the people of West Hollywood.
At the end of the night the second Council member comment period began, Heilman led off: “My first order of business will be to bring forward an item to move Council member comments to the end of the meeting.”
But Heilman needs two other votes.
Together with newly elected Chelsea Byers, they are bringing an item forward to move Council member comments to the end of the meeting. It’s a potential breakout moment for Byers to put people and process ahead of politics.
Byers is quick-speaking and to the point. During the debates, many wondered if she was reading off a computer screen. But, she’s a whip, thinks fast and speaks fast. Byers does not ramble or self-indulge.
With Heilman and Byers bringing items 5D forward they can count on Meister as the third vote. Erickson can quietly agree with majority or find cover with his friend but rival Shyne.
The item directs staff to amend the order of the City Council meeting to completely remove the first “Council member Comments’ Section and keep only one Council member comment section at the end of future meeting agendas.”
The staff report moves on to state that, “During City Council meetings, important decisions are made regarding various issues inthe City. These issues include budgetary allocations, land-use decisions, public works activities, social service contracts and the implementation of transportation and public safety initiatives. City Council meetings often involve required public hearings on assessments, amendments to codes and land use matters. Members of the public, City staff members, and outside consultants may be present at Council meetings to address the City Council on these scheduled items.”
Over the years, various members of the public have expressed frustration that these important topics are often not addressed until late at night after lengthy comments from members of the public and the City Council.
This item gives direction to staff to draft a solution to remove the first Council member Comments section and keep only one Council member Comments section at the end of the meeting in order for the Council to address the agendized items in a timelier manner.
The staff report goes on to say that the City Manager can answer many residents’ questions that need to be directed to a staff member. If Council member Comments are moved to the end of the meeting, the attendance reports will also be at the end of the meeting and the City Clerk can clarify what meetings Councilmembers are legally required to report.