City Council Adopts New Public Commenting Rules

From Joe Picardi: In an effort to bring some needed civility and order to city council meetings, the Democratic majority on the council, at the suggestion of Fourth Ward Councilman Rick DeLucry, has voted in changes to the rules for the public comment portions of the meeting.

From now on, members of the public can no longer be interrupted by the mayor or members of council during their presentations. The mayor and council members must now wait until members of the public have finished speaking before responding to questions. Their responses will be restricted by a time limit of one minute. Members of the public can still speak for up to five minutes on agenda items at the beginning of the meeting before any votes are taken, and up to five minutes during the public comment portion at the end of the meeting.

I’m sure it will take a bit of time for all of us to get used to these changes. They should result in better meetings, because now everyone can speak without any interruptions. Furthermore, there has been no reduction in the amount of time the public can speak, and still no limitations on what they can say. What has been eliminated is the all too common and improper practice of interrupting the public and hijacking their time with speeches.

Joe Picardi, Brigantine Councilman.

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5 thoughts on “City Council Adopts New Public Commenting Rules”

  1. John W. Pucci Sr.

    This new public comment policy will certainly keep the city council in check. But, since the council members don’t respond until the member of the public sits down, there is no guarantee that council understands the question properly, thus giving a unrelated or incomplete response. Also, will they write down and answer all questions asked? What if a question is missed? There is no provision to re ask the question or comment, before the vote after you have already sat down. You have to wait until the next meeting, sometimes 3 weeks away, with the issue already voted on. The interaction between Brigantine residents and city council during a public meeting should not be restricted in this manner.
    A more public friendly solution for “civility” at our meetings would be for our Elected Officials to reexamine
    Roberts Rules of Order of which they adopt at every reorgaination meeting at the beginning of the year.

  2. Fred Tochterman

    Every member of the public attending Council Meetings deserves not only the ability to question
    individual council members directly but also to receive immediate response to those
    questions. By delaying responses by Council members, the public questioner may get
    an improper or no response at all to his or her question due to the limited council member response
    time or Council member not understanding the question since no follow up time is allotted council members at the time of the question.

    I have attended numerous meetings and the only in civility that I have seen has been between
    Council members themselves, not in civility directed to the public. The extraordinary length of
    Council Meetings has been due to too many of our Council members speaking endlessly and
    redundantly as they did at the most recent meeting on July 16th when they finally voted on the public speaking rule changes after more than 45 minutes of discussion.

  3. I thought the councilman from the 4th ward at the last meeting thought he was back at the office getting paid by the minute while he pontificated. Clearly these people are unable to discus any subject in a logical businesslike manner. I am further concerned that most of the council members do not have the business experience to develop an RFP regarding the golf course and have never participated in cost analysis of any sort. We have a situation where a few Demagogues are hellbent on giving the farm away just to stick it to the other council members, meanwhile we have to sit back and pay the high taxes.

    1. The council did not formulate the RFP for the golf course, but hired a golf industry professional to write the RFP.

  4. John W. Pucci Sr.

    As an Independent/unaffiliniated registered voter in Brigantine, I attended both the REPUBLICAN & DEMOCRACT meetings. This practice allows me to understand the different view points that city council discusses at our Public Meetings, then votes on. At both meetings, there is a free exchange of dialogue back & forth with the elected officials that are present, and all questions that are asked are anwered. No limitations.

    I don’t understand why the five current Democratic members of city council embrace free dialogue at their meetings for Democracts, but recently restricted free dialogue from independent voters like me at our public city council meetings. Is it bacause of the camera and Channel 97? Do they not feel friendly with us, the Taxpayers and voters of Brigantine?

    When the public city council meeting is called to order, our Elected Officials become one identity, representing all Brigantine Residents. It’s disappointing five of them recently voted to restrict free dialogue at Our public meetings, yet at their own meetings allow free dialogue, discussing issues which effects all of us.
    We do not need this new policy to protect some of us from some of the council members. No thanks.
    Council Reexamination of Roberts Rule of Order should cure that problem.

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