By the Rules

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 27, 2006

Selma City Council meeting set tonight

Staff Report

During the Feb. 13 Selma City Council meeting, a disruption sent councilmembers, as well as citizens, home without making it through the agenda.

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Council President George Evans hopes to avoid a similar incident at tonight’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in the council chambers at Selma City Hall.

Evans has said the decision to adjourn that meeting came because “we had no way of knowing what would happen … we did it for the safety and well-being of all citizens.”

At the meeting tonight, citizens will have their say at the beginning of the agenda, instead of at the end.

They will speak prior to the mayor’s report, Evans said in an earlier report.

A resolution that was passed before the adjournment Feb. 13 moved the Citizens Requests segment of meetings to the beginning. That resolution passed by a 5-3 vote.

In considering the resolution, council members discussed several council meeting procedures.

In October 2004, the Selma City Council adopted rules and procedures for conducting its business. Those rules include:

No member of the City Council shall speak more than twice on the same subject without permission of the presiding offers. There shall be a three minute time limit on discussion of each single issue per city councilmember and council president.

No person, not a member of the council, shall be allowed to address the same while in session without permission of the presiding officer.

The presiding officer of the council may, at his or her discretion, call any member to take the chair, to allow him or her to address the council, make a motion, or discuss any other matter at issue.

The President and City Councilmembers must avoid interjecting a personal note into debate. To this end, the President and City Councilmembers must not attack or make any allusions to the motive of members. The measure on the floor, not the member, should be the subject of the debate.

Individuals, councilmembers and the President of City Council, who are in attendance of council meetings are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate, orderly and professional manner. Each is expected to be respectful to individual members of the council.

In a previous article, Evans apologized to those citizens who were not able to speak at the Feb. 13 meeting.

Those citizens will be placed first on the agenda at tonight’s meeting, Evans said, just after the minutes and treasurer’s report.