Last month, council members authorized Mayor Pro Tem Chris Czernek to develop these rules, which were intended to help council meetings run more smoothly. Council discussed a draft of proposed rules during a Sept. 5 meeting and voted 6-1 to adopt the rules. Council Member Christine Sederquist opposed.
The document does not outline repercussions for breaking any rules. Czernek said this was intentional.
“We don’t want to be overreaching,” Czernek said after the meeting. “To overreach and do something drastic would run the risk of being divisive.”
He said the goal of these rules is “to create a spirit of unity” and “togetherness” among council members.
Sederquist said she voted against the rules because she felt they were vague.
“We have bigger problems to tackle than discussing raising hands,” Sederquist said after the meeting, referring to one guideline that asks council members to raise their hands when they desire to speak at certain points during a meeting.
Some of the rules for council members include:
- “Wait for recognition from the mayor before speaking.”
- “Share all information equally with each other and the city manager.”
- “Councilmembers shall show respect and courtesy to, and refrain from making disparaging comments about, fellow Councilmembers, the public, and City staff in the conduct of a City Council meeting, outside of Council meetings, in social settings, and on social media.”
- “When an item is raised for discussion, the Presiding Officer will ask for input from each member of the Council. Each Councilmember will be given an opportunity to speak before a Councilmember who has spoken may speak again. Councilmembers shall raise their hands to indicate a desire to speak. The presiding officer will recognize a member whose hand is raised.”
- “After 11:00 p.m. if more than two items remain on the agenda (excluding Councilmember closing remarks), the Council may vote on the question of adjourning the meeting and postponing the remaining items.”
A draft of the rules can be found here, though council voted to make a few amendments, including adding a rule that states council members are to use their city-issued phones and email accounts—not personal ones—when conducting city business.