The changes are twofold, addressing tools for the public to use to submit comments besides showing up in person to speak and addressing public decorum during meetings.
The policy change for decorum was specifically requested by Mayor George Fuller at a July 28 meeting after he had requested a man with a Confederate flag remove it from the meeting, and the man refused. The mayor was unable to enforce his request under the current meeting policy.
“Our policy was nebulous at best,” city staff said to council during an Aug. 18 work session.
The updated policy was approved at the Aug. 18 meeting with a note this policy applies to all city boards and commissions.
City staff will pass out a pamphlet on proper public comment procedures at following meetings.
Under the policy updates for meeting decorum, “citizens have the right to criticize policies, procedures, programs, and services, but speakers must stick to public comment policy time limits and stay on topic,” according to meeting documents.
In addition, the public is expected to be respectful and courteous to council, staff, other speakers and others in attendance at the meeting.
Speakers must also yield the floor when the set time is concluded. If the speaker “repeatedly interrupts a Council member; disturbs the order of the meeting; involves loud, threatening, hostile, abusive, vulgar or obscene language; and disrupts the Council meeting," the speaker could be removed from the meeting, according to meeting documents.
In regard to the July 18 incident, the updated policy prohibits outside placards, banners, signs, pennants or flags in the council chambers. Visual aids are restricted only for city staff, consultants, or petitioners with agenda items. The mayor or presiding officer will enforce these rules, according to meeting documents.
The updated policy states the “Request to Speak” card must be submitted before the start of the meeting. This can be done by handing the card to the meeting clerk or emailing the card to [email protected] before the start of the meeting, per meeting documents.
Residents have two options for submitting written comments. Written comments for the meeting can be made in person by submitting a “Comment Card” to the meeting clerk or emailing it to the city at the email above before the start of the meeting. The second option is an online form that can be filled out at www.mckinneytexas.org/citizencomments.
Written comments must be submitted between the time of the agenda posting and the meeting start time. They will not be read aloud at the meeting but will be delivered to council and documented in the meeting record.
For more information, visit www.mckinneytexas.org/councilmeetings.