City Council simplifies adding meeting items

City Council simplifies adding meeting items
Councilmember Amanda Rigby, right, said that the City Council’s current policy of requiring three councilmembers’ approval to add new agenda items is “ineffective and wrong.” Photo by Rachel Stine

VISTA — With members referring to the present policy as “cumbersome” and “ineffective and wrong,” the City Council collaborated to change the way items are added to its meeting agendas on Tuesday night.

City policy currently requires three councilmembers’ approval before an item is added to a city council meeting agenda.

Councilmember Cody Campbell explained that to get approval, a councilmember must propose a future item to the rest of the council during an ongoing meeting. The request results in councilmembers discussing the proposed item to decide whether or not to put it on a later meeting agenda.

Campbell said the “cumbersome” process effectively causes the City Council to discuss proposed items at meetings where the matter is not mentioned on that night’s agenda.

He initially suggested allowing any councilmember to add an item to an agenda for city council discussion. He said that this process would allow Council to talk about whether or not the item should be added as an action item on a future agenda more openly and would properly notify the public about the matter.

Councilmember Amanda Rigby agreed that there are problems with the current policy. She said that requiring a council majority to add an item to the agenda restricts councilmembers’ ability to represent citizen interests and is “ineffective and wrong.”

But Deputy Mayor John Aguilera voiced unease about Campbell’s idea. He said that allowing any councilmember to add an item to an agenda independently could cause members to waste time with “pet projects” during meetings.

“If I decide that I want to have a duck pond in my neighborhood, I could bring that to put that on the agenda. Now I think you would think that’s pretty ridiculous,” he said.

Aguilera instead recommended that approval from two councilmembers would be required to place an item on the agenda.

Councilmember John Franklin added that a council majority should still be required to put an old item already dismissed by council onto a future agenda for reconsideration.

Campbell and the rest of the City Council agreed with the compromise.

With unanimous council approval, city staff will amend the policy and bring the changes back before council for a final vote to enact the new procedure.

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