Read the article in the News-Leader but pay particular attention to the right hand column "More About This Story" where past public comments are outlined. See if you think the past public comments are unrelated or inappropriate to a School Board meeting.
I'm recommending this in light of the recent suggestion by Mayor Carlson that maybe the Council needs to form a Committee to look at rules pertaining to what the public should be allowed to comment on at City Council meetings under "petitions, remonstrances and communications."
"I don't want to be arbitrary in enforcing the rules but at the same time, I think we need to know what they are and maybe have a Council committee look at, as we come forward, because it seems like we're getting more and more of these things and that may be fine, and we may decide that we wanna be here a lot later for everybody to come talk about whatever they do. Frequently, we have people come and talk about things that have nothing to do with city government, for example."
Carlson said he has:
"...different Council people telling me different things. Some Council people say, uh, "you ought to be able to talk about anything," other people say, "there oughta be some rules around here," and if we wanna have rules, fine, if we don't wanna have rules, fine, I just think we need to get on the same page."
On occasion there is a gentleman who addresses Council only to advertise his personal interests, he does his best to tie it in by suggesting the City should take action to promote his interests but it's mainly an advertisement. It would be unfortunate if one man who has probably appeared 2 or 3 times since April 2007, or a total of 10-15 minutes, gave Council an excuse to limit others from addressing the Council about issues of concern they have with the City.
Something I thought was rather important was left out of my current City Council Roundup column at Community Free Press - Midweek. It was probably edited out before I read the proof and okayed it and I just missed it but I thought it was important in light of supplimentals found at the website. The leed in the section about rules for addressing Council that was removed:
"According to City Clerk Brenda Cirtin the city's guidelines for addressing Council have evolved over the years. The roots for the guidelines are found in Chapter 2 (Administration), Sections 43-45 of the Springfield Municipal Code. As the guidelines have evolved, addressing Council about issues not on the agenda have changed to that of simply registering with the City Clerk by 5:00 p.m., the Friday preceding the Monday meeting. The current guidelines do not indicate the registration must be done in writing, as stated in the code."
You can access the supplimentals at the Community Free Press - Midweek website. They are:
Municipal Code Chapter 2, Administration, Sections 43-34
A Citizen's Guide to Addressing Council, from the city's website
Public Hearing Procedures, a handout available at all Council meetings
It seems counterproductive to me that at the same time the City is seeking public input in so many areas, the Council and School Board are discussing restricting established public speaking venues. In fact, as I was getting ready to post this entry I received a news release from the City that they'd like public input on the proposed speed limit reduction for residential streets.
If the Council decides to form a Committee to study the guidelines for addressing Council do you think they'll seek public input about whether public input should be allowed on topics not on the agenda or will the Committee, formed by elected officials, "represent us" in that regard?
Related: School board seeks more public input written by Kris Callen, president of the Springfield Board of Education, excerpt:
"To the News-Leader's credit, they were the only media to cover the retreat with a reporter present for a portion of the evening. With that presence, readers should expect accurate headlines and complete coverage. And while the retreat was posted as an open meeting and patrons could have attended, we have no expectation that most citizens would choose to spend their entire Thursday night attending a four-hour meeting. This leads to a more important reason for accurate and complete reporting. Citizens rely on the media for correct information regarding the work of their public entities and boards when they cannot or choose not to attend in person. We do not believe this occurred in this instance and hope that future articles and headlines will more accurately reflect the true nature and extent of the discussion."
Related: from KSGF's Vincent David Jericho Program, February 05,_How can we make dialogue between parents and Springfield Public Schools healthier, Tuesday, February 05, 2008, Guest: Dr. Ridder- Springfield Public Schools