§ 1.4. Rule of Courtesy and Decorum  


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  • The council of the City of Cincinnati recognizes that our citizens are our most valuable asset. Our citizens deserve and should expect to receive and be given a courteous, respectful hearing of their views.

    The council chamber is the peoples' chamber. Our citizens should be made to feel welcome with an appropriate greeting at the beginning of each council and committee meeting.

    Council recognizes that frequently our citizens make significant personal sacrifices to attend council and committee meetings as well as public hearings. Council shall be respectful of the time being given by citizens and shall endeavor to hear from them in a prompt and timely manner.

    Council recognizes that citizens coming before council may not always agree with the views of some or all of the members of council. Nonetheless those views should be heard respectfully without reproach or admonition. In any debate of public issues, differences of opinion are to be expected and the civil airing of those differences is encouraged as it helps to test ideas and develop consensus. Debate, however, should never become a personal attack which criticizes the character of the speaker rather than the wisdom of his or her ideas.

    Letters to councilmembers deserve serious consideration and a timely, appropriate response. Letters to the clerk of council, even those that may be critical, should be made a part of the record of council.

    Decorum and civility shall be observed at all times by members of council even though it may not be reciprocated. This includes prompt and regular attendance at all meetings of council, including those dedicated to public comment. In addition, while citizens are addressing council, the members of council shall not engage in lengthy side conversations. Such conversations shall occur outside council chambers.

    Council is also entitled to expect those coming before its meetings and committees to be respectful of other citizens, staff and members of council.

    Members of council shall hold themselves and each other accountable for complying with these standards, remembering that the council does the peoples' business.

    Visitors

    The council of the City of Cincinnati has a significant interest in conducting orderly, efficient, effective and dignified meetings. Therefore, all visitors to council and committee meetings must not disrupt the conduct of council or committee meetings by physical actions, excessive noise or other disruptive or distracting behaviors.

    Such actions delay and interfere with the testimony of others and disrupt the legislative proceedings.

    Following a request to cease and desist disruptive behavior, the chair has discretion to order the removal of persons who continue to disrupt meetings from council chambers for the duration of the meeting or such lesser period as the chair may determine.

    In the interest of other speakers and fair enforcement of council rules, time limits on speakers at council and committee meetings shall be strictly and equally enforced. When a speaker's time has expired, he or she shall promptly conclude his or her sentence and cease speaking.

    Signs, placards, posters and other items brought into council chambers must not exceed 2 ft. x 3 ft. in size. In addition, visitors in attendance at council or committee meetings may not carry or hold signs, placards, posters or other items in a manner that obstructs the view of others.

    The use of sticks, poles or supports made of wood, metal, plastic or any rigid material is strictly prohibited in council chambers.

    Any sign, placard, poster or other item brought into council chambers containing obscene or profane language, personal attacks, slander, defamation or threats of physical violence, which the chair determines is intended as a disruption of the meeting, shall be subject to removal at the discretion of the chair.

    At the request of the chair, violators must remove from council chambers any sign found to be in violation of this rule. The chair has the discretion to order the removal of persons who continue to violate this rule following a warning.