New Rules For Our New Council
By Andrew Richter
What a difference a few months make! Instead of little petty political arguments, we have a council in Crystal that is doing positive things! For example, our new council passed new rules at the March 3 meeting. Here are some highlights;
The consent agenda is for routine and non-controversial items. The items on the consent agenda will be considered in one motion. No items may be placed on the consent agenda that pertain to the direct expenditure of City funds. Any member may request that an item be removed from the consent agenda; this request is not subject to debate and does not require a vote. Items removed from the consent agenda are added to the regular agenda before the first regular agenda item.
I’ve very happy to see this change. I’ve always been uncomfortable with city expenses being passed in the consent agenda with no discussion. It is wrong to treat taxpayer dollars that way.
A Resolution may be used to express City Council policy, direct administrative or legal action, or to make a public statement from the Council (symbolic resolution). Resolutions are passed by majority vote. All symbolic resolutions must directly relate to the business of the City of Crystal. The Council will not issue symbolic resolutions on pending legislation, ballot measures, or any items being discussed by other legislative bodies.
Yes! Finally a council that won’t have the arrogance to try to tell us how to vote on a ballot measure or pending legislation!
The Creation of Standing Work Sessions;
There will be a standing work session immediately following each regularly scheduled council meeting. If there are insufficient agenda items to require a standing work session, it may be cancelled at the discretion of the City Manager. At its standing work sessions the Council will receive from the City Manager an update on open constituent issues. This update will be provided in a format mutually agreed upon by the Council and the City Manager.
Any Council member may bring an item up for discussion during the New Business portion of the standing work session. Discussion on each item is limited to three minutes. Upon the agreement of a minimum of two council members the item may be added to the agenda for the next Regular Work Session for further discussion. Upon the agreement of a minimum of three council members the item may be added to the next council meeting agenda.
Adoption of the Rules
Rules shall be adopted by a resolution requiring an affirmative vote of 5 Council members at the second Regular Council Meeting of each year. If rules are not adopted at this meeting they will be presented at every subsequent meeting until they are adopted. Current rules remain in effect until new rules are adopted.
This is critical! One the rules are adopted, it will be very hard to change.
Suspension of the Rules
A rule may be temporarily suspended by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present. The specific reason for suspending the rules must be stated in the motion to suspend, and no business may be transacted except the stated business.
Yes! No garbage like what happened last year! Yee haw!
Of course, I hate to be a downer here but there are two things I don’t like; the city manager can create the agendas which I vehemently oppose and I think we need to change a few things in the charter to make this a more permanent change that can’t be undone by a future council.
But, I don’t want to dash cold water on this. These changes are good and necessary! Thank you especially to Ward 3 Councilman Casey Peak and Ward 2 Councilman Jeff Kolb. But really I have to give credit to everyone here. I even have to give credit to the former council. They were so bad, they made these changes necessary!