Much Ado About Nothing

I realize this is a 3 day weekend article, one put on standby to fill the pages of the paper. I wish there had been more substantive quotes because it misses a few key facts about a proposal I’ve written to change the way people will speak before City Council.

The most important is this: a large number, if not a majority, of Council want to cut everyone back to 3 minutes. I am not in favor of further cutting back from 5 minutes to 3 minutes those people who have something to say about business before Council.

But, because Nancy White and I are Chair and Co-Chair of the Rules Committee, we were asked by other members of Council to put together a proposal. I wrote it.

We bifurcate the speakers — those with business before Council speak before we get to the business of Council. Those who just want to speak, go between old and new business. That second group would be reduced to three minutes.

In the year and a half I’ve been on Council, I’ve yet to see one of the perennial speakers speak for five minutes without, basically, starting over from the beginning to fill up the clock. Likewise, most of those who just want to speak are there to complain about various city employees, policemen, etc. and I don’t think Council should be the place to hurl invective at a policeman without that policeman being able to defend himself.

Most importantly, the article fails to mention that the proposal was submitted, then I moved to table it so we could review what other city councils in Georgia do. I’m fine with the present rule, but having been asked to come up with a new proposal, I did.

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Erick Erickson

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