Let the people speak!

City Council members agree to stop interrupting

Members of the Chico City Council have agreed to stop interrupting people.

That’s one result of a new set of policies and procedures for council meetings, as well as those of boards and commissions, the council approved Tuesday (Nov. 4). The so-called Council Procedures Committee, composed of Councilmen Scott Gruendl, Tom Nickell and Steve Bertagna, had come up with the recommendations in concert with City Clerk Debbie Presson.

As Presson explained it, speaking before the council isn’t easy for people, and they work hard to prepare for it. “When you interrupt them, you derail their train of thought,” she said—so the mayor only will if a speaker exceeds the allotted time.

There was much emphasis on limiting meetings, since decisions made late at night often turn out to be mistakes. The recommendation was to end them at 10 p.m., with one 30-minute extension possible.

Another recommendation is that, when a group seeks extra time to make a formal presentation during a public hearing, that only the group’s spokesperson be allowed to speak.

The council approved the recommendations, with the proviso that they can be waived if needed.