Council adopts new rules for how it operates
EVERETT - People who come to speak before the City Council could be cut off before their allotted three minutes are up.
People who advertise a company or political campaign during their comments could be stripped of their ability to speak before the council.
Council members also can shut down their colleagues from speaking through a two-thirds vote.
These are among the changes the council adopted in its council procedures, which governs how it operates. The review of the council procedures was requested by Council President Ron Gipson.
The council adopted the new rules last month.
Other highlights include a commitment to require all council meetings to be broadcast on Everett TV and a re-affirmation that only the City Council may use the council chamber. The chamber is otherwise closed to public use without the council president’s written permission.
The council spent weeks walking through its procedures before finalizing the rule book Aug. 8. The council last thoroughly reviewed its procedures in 2010 under then-Council President Paul Roberts.
During this year’s discussions, the council tossed out bringing back council committees, tossed out a proposal to allow a council member to participate by telephone and ended up nixing additional rules on executive sessions. The council also threw out proposals that would have allowed a majority of council members to reprimand another council member for disrupting a meeting or for filibustering.
During this latest review, Gipson allowed a rule to be tossed if any one council member objected to it.
There was split interest in bringing back committees. Councilman Shannon Affholter, though, firmly objected to re-establishing committees because he thinks they’re a waste of staff resources.
In 2010, the council had multiple committees focused on a variety of topics. Roberts worked with the rest of the council to close down the committees and to have almost all issues be discussed before the council as a whole, which is how it works today.
The new 2012 procedures introduce new rules for the citizen comment period, including the possibility of a temporary ban for anyone who advertises a group they’re affiliated with. A recent example of advertising from the podium is James Deal, an attorney leading the fight against Everett fluoridating its water. During his comments, he often would name his website.
In 2010 a majority of council members switched most council meetings to days from nights.
Councilmen Gipson, Affholter, Arlan Hatloe and then-newly seated Jeff Moore voted to move to day meetings. The meeting time was switched back to mostly night meetings soon after residents complained.