The Tuesday, July 9 council meeting started at 3 pm. It ended about 6:30 pm
There were 10 citizen speakers. Only 3 of the speakers addressed the council on agenda. The remaining speakers talked on NON agenda items.
Under the “old’ council rules, the non agenda speakers would have been last at the meeting. Under the “new” rules, any topic can be addressed by speakers at the beginning of the meeting.
Too many citizens who attend the meeting to observe first hand comments and votes on agenda items are being punished by having too wait too long for the Council to get to legislative matters.
This would benefit the majority of attendees at council meetings. Additionally this would be very helpful to the media who have early deadlines for TV broadcasts and publication deadlines.
The “new” rule on speakers needs to be dropped and the “old” rule re-instated.
COUNCIL RULE CHANGE ON SPEAKERS A FAILED EXPERIMENT
The “New 3” on the Shreveport city council---Levette Fuller, John Nickeson, and Grayson Boucher— are primarily responsible for a change in the council rules that has been a disaster. Speakers are now allowed to speak on any topic at the beginning of both the work session and the regular meeting.
As a result, Council meetings have become a virtual media circus. Citizens come to air complaints about everything, whether or not an issue within the council’s jurisdiction or not. Rarely does the council get down to regular business until after ninety minutes, sometimes a full two hours.
Prior to the rule change, speakers could only address the council at the Monday work sessions on agenda items. The reason for this was simple. The council is reviewing agenda items for the regular Tuesday meeting and citizen comments are helpful in that process.
Prior to the rule change, there were two opportunities for speaking at the Tuesday regular meeting. Agenda items could be addressed at the beginning of the meeting. Non agenda items could be addressed at the endo the meeting. Now speakers can talk about the weather or whatever is on there mind at the beginning of the Tuesday meeting.
Serious consideration should be given to going back to the prior rules on citizen comments. The council is a legislative body , not an open mike session.