Can someone tell me the proper protocol for approaching City Council at one of their public meetings. Is advance notice required, etc?
I believe you would call or go upstairs at city hall and tell the admin staff that you wanted to be given time to speak to council at one of the meetings and it would be arranged. You’ll probably have to state your business so it can be noted on the agenda and Councilors would be prepared to answer your questions.
There are two ways you can address City Council at open public meetings. One, you can come to a committee of the whole meeting (usually the second meeting each month). During this type of meeting you can ask questions of the city regarding operations. Two, you can schedule to come to a meeting as a delegation. To do this you have to contact the administration department at least a week before the meeting to get put on the agenda. During the election however, no petitions or delegations are allowed, and no committee of the whole meetings are allowed. So the next opportunity to address city council at an open meeting or committee of the whole would be on the meeting of Nov. 25th. If it is an urgent matter I would send an email to city council and/or administration outlining the issue/concern, and, depending on the nature of the issue/concern, there may be a way of dealing with the matter sooner. I hope this helps.
You might want to consider why you are approaching council:
a) if you want to tell them that they are doing a good/bad job, then quit reading this post.
b) if you want to notify them about an issue that you think is of only personal interest, then phone the City Manager or Mayor. It doesn’t need to be discussed in public. If you are unhappy with what you are then told, then perhaps you might want to go the moral/public persuasion route.
c) if you want to notify them about an issue that you think is of public interest, then you might want to consider the following:
ci) if you want to notify them about an issue that is of public interest, and you would also like an answer during the meeting, then you might want to consider contacting the City Manager or Mayor ahead of the meeting. If they have sufficient time, they might be able to do some research and you might actually get answer in the public forum. cii) if you do not notify them, you will probably get an answer which basically says "Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we will get back to you" or alternatively "Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we will direct staff to prepare a briefing note to council". Council and staff will probably not be willing to provide any kind or response until they have had an opportunity to research the issue and analyse it.
Have fun and do not forget to wave to your friends when you are on camera!
Thanks. I was a little too busy to phone in on Friday so thought this avenue would be better. Looks like I was correct.