Worcester City Council rules changes

Here’s a PDF outlining proposed changes in how the City Council will operate.

A lot of this is just cleaning things up. The discussion of these changes has been happening for many months now, and will go on for some time to come.

Here are a few things I noticed that go beyond cleanup.

  • When the Council takes up an issue that’s not on the meeting agenda, they will first have to explain the emergency situation that’s forcing them to do so.
  • Limits total public comment at a Council meeting to 30 minutes. (The Council can always suspend this rule and let people talk longer.)
  • Reiterates that people at meetings should be silent, and that if you’re still talking after being warned, the Council can call the cops on you.
  • Formalizes that the Mayor can temporarily appoint Councilors to vacant committee spots. This is how it’s already done.
  • Currently, committees are supposed to make a decision on items within 60 days, then report back to the Council. There are a lot of old items drifting around. The new rule says that after 60 days, if the committee hasn’t dealt with the item, it goes back to the Council. Also, the Clerk will give the committees lists of their “dormant items,” and every 2 years there will be a big housecleaning—either a Councilor has to ask to keep an item alive, or it will automatically be “filed.” (That is, go away.
  • The new rules several times call speaking before the Council a “privilege,” whereas the old rules don’t. Not sure if this means anything.

Rules geeks, feel free to post a comment with your impressions.

3 thoughts on “Worcester City Council rules changes

  1. When I wrote the public access proposal which is now a rule of the coucil I wrote a thirty minutes public access period with a limit of two minutes for each each speaker. It was inteneded to be a right not a privilege.

    Ron Madnick

    1. I agree that your intention of helping Council fulfill their “duty” of protecting American “right ” to speak in public was needed and correct meaning in front of complete council and public as now .public speaking in front of separate committees and the public watching those separate committees are not protecting the “right to free speech at public meeting”
      From what I’ve seen, their threat of calling it a “privilege” and not a right is a play on words and if written as a “rule” ,they have failed in their public ” duty”.

      Or something like that ,I am sure you are better at this than i

  2. I am not a rule person but do not feel there should be much discussion with people pandering to council on council need for legal jargon for common sense approach to government . In above bulleted items
    · Common sense tells you if there is a fire in the house-a person who notices it should be allowed to state it briefly for the record
    · Resonable right now because public involvement is very limited But it isn’t ready for a rule because of people who want to lobby,one sided issue etc ,council is using common sense when faced with many people who want to say the same thing -council can be creative setting up their sub categories when issue looks be become over whelming like I am sure will overwhelm meeting tonight
    ·This is the ITEM that is important for timely government practice( new items) to be come more efficient than its past and make progress.most government depts.like Atty.General,Division of Profession Stardards Etc make a 30 day rule to answer (they then have various form letters to accept,deny,or request more information within 30 days or closed and then people have to work at it to set it all up again etc).This would then take 60 days from open to close and appeal process should be set up.
    If anything gets held or misplaced after 60 days with unfounded reason ,the committee while still in office should be held up to scorn with public ridicule etc.
    Rule now as presented gives 60 days and 2 years and then gets lost in housekeeping when people move away,die etc -it doesn’t represent change for the good.
    Councils goal should be more efficiency not more of the same.
    ·The “privilege” is the way they set up subrules like 2 min than 30 min. but hasn’t clarified all subrules and it should reflect that .America has the “right” to speak out but not anyway it wants.

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