public comment

Citizen attacks fellow citizen, swears – what can be done?

By Ann Macfarlane / March 5, 2021 /

Dear Dinosaur:  During public comment at a virtual meeting, one citizen was making blasphemous comments about another citizen in attendance, was escalating in emotion, and calling him names and added a few cuss words.  Then he pulls out pictures and past memos, etc.  I’m clear about allowing the citizen his freedom of speech.  He can…

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Are your meetings seven hours long?

By Ann Macfarlane / February 23, 2021 / Comments Off on Are your meetings seven hours long?

  This strange time of COVID-19 is producing some strange situations. We hear reports of local government meetings lasting far into the night, in some cases taking as long as 7 hours. (See this article about San Jose California). Does this happen to you? Are your meetings too long? If yes, what can be done…

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When First Amendment Rights and Public Meetings Clash

By Ann Macfarlane / August 7, 2020 /

MRSC has graciously given permission for us to republish this helpful article. MRSC is a private nonprofit organization, formerly known as “Municipal Resources and Service Center,” serving local governments in Washington State.  Read more of their articles here. Jurassic Parliament articles on this topic are listed below. Most governing bodies of cities, towns, counties, and…

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Control disorder in your chambers

By Ann Macfarlane / October 22, 2019 / Comments Off on Control disorder in your chambers
gavel descending in stages

Local governments face a tough climate these days. Customs of courtesy have faded and people are often both passionate and rude about their issues. If you are a mayor or presiding officer of a public body, it is critical that you control disorder in your chambers. Council meetings are meetings of the council The basic…

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Danger Will Robinson! Public comment ahead!

By Ann Macfarlane / June 12, 2019 / Comments Off on Danger Will Robinson! Public comment ahead!

This post offers our readers a brilliant paper by municipal attorney Brett Vinson on the dangers of public comment. Anyone involved in receiving comment from the public during meetings will find it interesting and valuable. Read about the Nazi salute in Santa Cruz, singing a Whitney Houston song to express love for a councilmember, and…

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Roundtable Community Workshops

By Ann Macfarlane / June 5, 2019 / Comments Off on Roundtable Community Workshops

Guest post by Bob Jean, ICMA/WMCA Senior Advisor Got a really hot issue and a divided community? Too often, if you hold a traditional public hearing to deal with it, you run the risk that each side will simply line up and use their three minutes to tell the Council how terrible they are no…

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Time limits create productive meetings

By Ann Macfarlane / February 27, 2019 / Comments Off on Time limits create productive meetings

The mayor of Alexandria, Virginia began council meetings by responding to each person giving public comment, sometimes delaying the start of regular business three hours or more.

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Don’t get chummy

By Ann Macfarlane / November 28, 2018 /

City councilmembers and nonprofit board leaders should not get chummy—too familiar—with their constituents or regular members. Here’s why.

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You can’t shut down a meeting whenever you want

By Ann Macfarlane / June 11, 2018 /
gavel descending in stages

“Can City Council President Ben Stuckart really shut down a meeting whenever he wants?” runs the catchy headline. The answer, of course, is NO!

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