The Newburgh City Council will have the opportunity to review their Council Rules & Order of Procedure prior to a final vote. Corporation Counsel Michelle Kelson presented a draft resolution to the city council on Thursday, January 4.
The document on the city website outlines various portions of the meetings and associated actions that are carried out by council. The draft includes the following sections: General Rules of Procedure; Order of Business; Videoconferencing; Voting; Executive Sessions; Participation of City Manager and Staff; Suspension of the Rules, Guidelines for Public Comment; Use of Recording Equipment; Rules for Public Hearing; Work Sessions; Robert’s Rules of Order and Adoption of Ordinances.
“The way the city is structured, we don’t have a need for a reorganizational meeting in the same way that the towns and the villages and the school boards do, but one of the things that I do recommend that the council review on a periodic basis is the rules for conducting your council meetings,” said Kelson. “Every time we have an election and we have some new members of council, it’s a good time to do that.”
Mayor Torrance Harvey made the recommendation to create a time limit for public hearing sessions to be limited to an hour. Harvey presented this suggestion as a result of the three hour plus public hearing held on the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) legislation, rent stabilization and city housing emergency last month.
The recommendation from Kelson to address the mayor’s concern was that the time given to speakers during those hearings could be limited. Currently listed in the Rules for Public Hearings section, speakers are limited to five minutes for their remarks during that hearing while general comments overall are limited to three minutes according to Kelson. The recommendation for a three minute time limit for public hearing comments would be added to another draft of the document and appear before council at a later meeting. The overall document remains as is with no changes.