§ 2.7. Public Comments at Committee Meetings  

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  • Members of the public are encouraged to discuss and debate relevant issues during meetings of the various committees of council. Each committee meeting 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. During committee meetings, persons may be granted the privilege of the floor as follows:

    (a) Persons who wish to speak on any item on a committee agenda may be granted the privilege of the floor for three minutes, unless in the discretion of the chair, circumstances dictate a longer or shorter period for all speakers on a particular item. The length of speaking periods for public comment must be uniform for a particular item.

    Further, it is the discretion of the committee chair whether persons speaking on agenda items speak before or after committee members have had the opportunity to discuss the item. After the business portion of committee meetings has concluded, persons who wish to speak on any issue may be granted the privilege of the floor for three minutes.

    (b) At the discretion of the committee chair, public comments may be limited to three persons in support and three persons in opposition of any issue. All speakers are limited to one appearance per committee meeting.

    (c) All persons who wish to speak before a committee of council must complete a speaker card and file it with the clerk. 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 speaker cards are received.

    (d) Each committee's chair will recognize and introduce speakers in the order in which their speaker cards were received by the clerk.

    (e) Only the speaker is permitted at the lectern when addressing council or one of its committees, unless the chair or any member of council has invited two or more persons to the lectern for information or ceremonial purposes.

    (f) The chair shall provide a warning to a speaker whose comments are not directly relevant to a committee agenda item. Following a warning, the chair may require a speaker who continues to make irrelevant comments to relinquish the remainder of his or her three minutes. Failure to comply will constitute a disturbance.

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

    (h) Any person causing a disturbance of a committee meeting or failing to comply with any lawful decision or order by the committee chair may be removed from council chambers for the duration of the meeting 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.

    (i) One or more persons may be granted the privilege of the floor at the chair's discretion for ceremonial purposes or to provide information that is directly related to an item under consideration by the committee.