§ 2.6. Citizens' Forum  

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  • For a period of not more than 30 minutes immediately prior to the start of each regular meeting of council, there will be a citizens' forum where persons will be granted the privilege of the floor as follows:

    (a) Each citizens' forum will begin with a greeting by the chair and a brief summary of the rules of council related to courtesy and decorum and speaking before council after which persons may be granted the privilege of the floor for up to two minutes to discuss any topic(s).

    (b) All persons speaking during the citizens' forum are limited to one appearance per citizens' forum.

    (c) All persons who wish to speak during the citizens' forum must complete a speaker card and file it with the clerk by the scheduled start of the citizens' forum on the day the speaker wishes to speak. Speakers may file a speaker card with the clerk's office anytime beginning on Monday of the week they wish to speak until the scheduled start of the citizens' forum. Speaker cards will not be accepted by the clerk after that time. Speaker cards must be completed with the speaker's name, address, organization (if applicable) and subject, and submitted along with any material or information to be distributed. On the face of each completed speaker card, the clerk shall indicate the time of receipt and the order in which the speaker cards are received.

    (d) The chair will recognize and introduce speakers in the order in which their speaker cards were received by the clerk. Those speakers who promptly submitted speaker cards but are unable to speak within the half-hour period will have first priority to speak at the next citizens' forum. The chair will inform those speakers who will have priority to speak at the next citizens' forum prior to the start of the citizens' forum.

    (e) Only the speaker is permitted at the lectern during the citizens' forum, unless the chair or any member of council has invited two or more persons to the lectern for informational or ceremonial purposes.

    (f) The use of obscene or profane language, personal attacks, slander, defamation, physical violence or the threat thereof, which the chair determines is intended as a disruption, shall constitute a disturbance of the citizens' forum.

    (g) The chair may order the removal of any person causing a disturbance of a citizens' forum or failing to comply with any lawful decision or order by the chair for the duration of the citizens' forum or such lesser period as the chair may determine. Upon the issuance of a warning by the chair, any subsequent violation of this rule or any other form of disruptive behavior will result in the individual's immediate suspension of being recognized by any chair at any council or committee meeting for a period of 60 days. The clerk of council shall be responsible for notifying suspended individuals of the duration of their suspension.

    (h) The citizens' forum shall not be considered part of the business portion of a council meeting.

    (i) If the mayor is not present to call the citizens' forum to order five minutes after the scheduled starting time, the vice-mayor shall call the meeting to order. If neither the mayor nor the vice-mayor is present, the president pro-tem shall call the meeting to order. If the mayor, vice-mayor or the president pro-tem are not present, a council member may call the meeting to order.

    (j) It is the duty of the chair to enforce these rules.