Red Deer councilors cut public speaking time, but not theirs – Red Deer Advocate
City councilors gave initial approval to some procedural changes aimed at making their meetings clearer, more efficient and transparent to the public.
City council passed the first reading of an updated procedure by-law on Monday. Under the new rules, advisers will now be officially allowed to attend meetings in person or virtually in the future.
They will also retain their right to mention random points of interest before agenda items are dealt with.
And they will retain the right to speak for a total of 10 minutes in a meeting – including any questions they ask. However, advisers have been told that they will receive countdown clocks on their screens so they can keep track of how much time they have left.
One of the biggest procedural changes, as it affects residents of Red Deer, is that speaking time for members of the public at public meetings has been reduced to five minutes from 10 previously. This matches public speaking times in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and several other communities.
Acting City Manager Tara Lodewyk said it was time to review the rules of procedure. The last update was in 2012. Since then, many changes have taken place, such as the use of technology and knowledge of parliamentary law.
Another part of the new procedure by-law is a new, clearer process for setting board agendas with the introduction of an agenda review committee.
“I am particularly excited about the transparency the new Procedure By-law provides to Council, the administration and the public,” said Mayor Ken Johnston.
“Knowing how and why items are on the agenda, having clear direction on how the public can participate in meetings, improves understanding and efficiency for the whole community.”
The second and third readings of the procedure by-law are scheduled for March 28.
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