There will be no “hooting” at Electric City council meetings. Nor any “jeering,” according to new rules laid down by council members last Tuesday night.
One section, called “Conduct of Audience” states that you can be removed from the council chambers if you clap, cheer, hoot, holler, gesture, whistle, guffaw, jeer, boo, hiss, make remarks out of turn, use profanity or the like.
The council had a difficult time explaining to itself and a few residents scattered in the chambers how citizens should address the council.
Mayor Jerry Sands explained that complaints should go to city hall, where they can be written up and sent to respective department heads to solve.
Jeff Ihlers, who lives on Goodfellow and has been regularly attending council meetings, asked if the audience could still bring things up.
Sands explained that some items were “complaint, complaints” and other things were just a complaint. The mayor said there was a fine line between the two. You can take “complaints” to city hall and write them up on a form provided. The “complaint, complaints” you could still bring to council.
Ihlers was still confused and said that it was stated that the council would follow Robert’s Rules of Order in the conduct of city business, but according to the new policy the council will follow Robert’s Rules of Order, except when it doesn’t.
The new rules state that all votes shall be by “roll call,” which the council violated the rest of the meeting. Discussion on this two weeks ago centered on which side the mayor would follow on taking roll call votes.
Another interesting item in the new council procedures is in voting. “If any council member refuses to vote aye or nay, their vote shall be counted as a nay vote and their conduct shall be considered disorderly and malfeasance of office.”
When Ihlers asked who wrote the new policy, he was told the city’s attorney.
Earlier in the meeting, the council voted to add a citizen on all council committees in an effort to get residents involved.
Ihlers said it was confusing that the council wanted participation but then passed a policy that made it more difficult.