Guest Column: Efficiency first in agenda revision

GEORGE GARDNERTen years ago a new City Commission majority rearranged its policies, pushing the 2pm meeting time to a later 5pm, moving public comment to the top of the agenda, and having the consent agenda – city business items without expected debate – read by item titles.

Over the years, adjustments have been made – putting appeals and public hearings, and recently 450th commemoration updates, ahead of public comment.

The proposed revisions may speed up those twice a month meetings, but hopefully not at the expense of opportunities for residents to interact with their representatives as a body.

The consent agenda takes about half a minute to read, and would at least alert residents to pursue items of interest. Staff reports may not require public presentation, as long as the meat of the reports is made public.

When that commission ten years ago was debating a later meeting time more convenient to working residents, a holdover member of the former commission suggested city business could be taken care of starting at 2pm, then about 5pm the public could speak.

He was reminded the city’s business is the public’s business.

George Gardner
St Augustine Mayor (2002-2006)
St Augustine Commissioner (2006-2008)

Republished from The Report.

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