Burney Explains Working Meetings
But what are they?
“Let me start by stating what these meetings are not: They are not town hall meetings nor are they public forums. These are still Council meetings and as such, the format for these meetings will remain the same as any other council meeting - like budget or agenda fixing meetings,” Burney said in an e-mail response to Plaintalker’s request for an overview.
“The goal of these meetings is to allow the Council their attention on a single subject - something we are never able to do in regular council meetings. Obviously the administration and attending public also are put in the frame of mind of the discussion. So we as a community spend an evening delving deep on a subject important to all of us,” he said.
The first of four such meetings will be held Feb. 25, on the topic of public safety.
“The overall format of these meeting will be as any other council meeting: Topic introduction, presenter, Council comments and questions. The presenters at these meetings will be diverse. I want to get some block association representation at these meetings also. Not just industry experts and department heads,” Burney explained.
In 2006, Blanco formulated a 28-page “Rules of Order” document that included many innovations, including a calendar change and detailed descriptions of types of council meetings. Working conferences, he said, were to be held for the purpose of “policy development.” Council discussion and policy formulation were to be the main elements, with 15 minutes set aside for public comment.
But the April 2006 working conference ended up with two hours of public comment. Click here to see the Plaintalker post on the meeting.
Burney said he expects to have a full hour for public comment at the Feb. 25 meeting.
“Personally speaking, I will be particularly interested in input from the public on the discussion items. I particularly value solutions to the problem and issues we talked about,” he said. “For example, we know drug dealing and gangs are a problem for the city - the public is welcome to give us their opinions on the issue. But in addition to that, to me, it would be helpful if we also got suggestions on how to fix the problem. So if you know of resources or solutions from other cities, please bring them forth.”
Burney said the agenda for the meeting will be posted online.
“The public present and watching at home must be able to follow along. The days of the public being in a fog because they are not able to see what we are looking at are gone,” he said.
Besides the Feb. 25 working meeting on public safety, future topics are information technology on April 27, the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority on July 27 and economic growth on Oct. 19.