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    HomeNewsWeHo City to Consider Reducing Council Member Comments Section to One at...

    WeHo City to Consider Reducing Council Member Comments Section to One at End of Meetings

    West Hollywood City Council will consider directing staff to return to Council with a resolution to amend the order of City Council agendas to remove the first Council Member Comments section, and keep only one “Council Member Comments” section at the end of future meeting agendas.

    Agenda Item 5.D. initiated by Councilmembers John Heilman and Chelsea Byers addresses frustrations expressed by various community members that important topics are often not addressed until late at night after lengthy comments from members of the public and the City Council. The item gives direction to staff to draft a resolution 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. Moving the Public Comment portion is neither feasible nor desirable.

    During City Council meetings, important decisions are made regarding various issues in
    the 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.

    Resolution No. 13-4451 was adopted in 2013 and established the procedures for conducting City Council meetings. The resolution outlines the agenda contents and a template for the regular order of business. As established by this Resolution, there are two “Councilmember Comments” sections on the Council agendas: one at the beginning of the meeting and one right before the meeting is adjourned.

    The Councilmember Comments section is described as follows:

    In addition to receiving comment from the public, there are two specific items on the agenda for receiving general comments, announcements, and requests of staff and/or other issues of concern from members of the City Council. These matters may not be discussed, and if they do not concern an item on the agenda, shall be handled by the Mayor according to the same procedures set out for Public Comment in Section 6. 1. No action may be taken on such matters without their first being properly placed on a subsequent agenda.

    A City Staff states that during Public Comment, some members of the public occasionally identify a community concern (such as a broken streetlight or some other issue which needs a response). At times, Councilmembers use the first Councilmember Comment period to request further information or a response from the City Manager or staff on these public comments. If Councilmember Comments are moved to the end of the meeting, the City Manager can respond to these types of requests during the City Manager’s Report immediately after Public Comment, without the need for Councilmembers to give direction. For instance, if a resident complains during Public Comment that trash hasn’t been picked up on their street or that they received a parking ticket where a meter wasn’t working, the City Manager can give direction to a City employee during his report to follow up directly with that resident.

    If Councilmember 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 Council members are legally required to report. Under state law and city policy, Council members must provide an attendance report at the Council meeting. The attendance report includes disclosing information on meeting or conference attendance on behalf of the City when the City has paid for their travel or other expenses, or meeting attendance if the Councilmember has been designated by the City Council as a delegate. Council members are not required to report attendance at community events. Council members, are free to do so if they wish, but the City Clerk should provide clarification on the attendance reports which are legally required, with all other reports being at the option of the Councilmember.

    At times Councilmembers give additional direction or commentary on Consent Calendar
    items during the first Councilmember Comment section of the meeting. This can be
    difficult for staff to track when they are following up on Council directives. If
    Councilmembers would like to add or edit recommendations in a Consent Calendar item,
    they can pull the item rather than provide direction during their Councilmember
    Comments. Other comments regarding Consent Calendar items that wouldn’t impact the
    motion or recommendations in an item can wait until the Councilmember Comment
    section at the end of the meeting.

    Occasionally, Councilmembers also give direction during the Councilmember Comment
    section of the meeting regarding things that are not on the posted agenda. Since no
    single Councilmember can give direction and, as noted in the resolution establishing the
    rules for the conduct of City Council Meetings, no action shall be taken on items not
    appropriately placed on the agenda, the City Manager and/or City Attorney shall
    determine whether such direction shall be placed on a subsequent agenda for
    consideration by the entire City Council.

    This policy can be evaluated after one year of implementation to determine if it has helped
    the Council address agendized items in a timelier manner.

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    10 days ago

    Great idea!

    11 days ago

    There is a GOD! Thank you Heilman and Byers. Thank you.

    Conerned Citizen
    Conerned Citizen
    12 days ago

    I’m okay with Heilman, but I have an immense distrust of Chelsea Byers. I heard her “I made a mistake” muttered under her breath when asked about her anti-Jewish activities and beliefs. I don’t believe she can change her heart just because she was elected to office.

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