Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 3, 2021

I got new rules I count ’em

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

In one bit of positive news the City Council will be considering new rules around Council Referrals because they’ve been monopolized by Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog since the start of the year, many Referrals were of the “this could have been an email” variety. And, true to form, Trish Spencer has two Council Referrals on this agenda even though the City Council didn’t make it through the whole agenda last Council meetings.

The new proposed rules for the night of are:

1) Limit Council Referral presentations to five minutes.

2) Limit Council comments and questions on Council Referrals to three minutes.

3) Limit Councilmember comments during Council Communications to three minutes and allow Councilmembers to comment only once during Council Communications.

This, though, is the biggest change and is essentially the question, “Could this be an email?”

Councilmembers should first consult with the City Manager, City Attorney or City Clerk to determine if requested information concerns a routine matter for which information is readily available.  If so, a Referral is not needed and the information should be shared with the public through an Off Agenda report posted on a portal on the City’s website. 

But this should, hopefully, help salvage staff time which should not be spent on Council Referrals until the Council majority decides to move forward on the item:

Staff shall not work on a Referral until the entire Council provides direction.  Initial Council direction would be whether the matter should return on a future agenda with a simple staff analysis and background information.  Council concurrence that some staff time will be devoted for this purpose does not signify approval. Substantive work on the proposal will not occur until the matter returns and Council provides additional direction. 

And finally, the Urgent/Important ranking has been dropped because everyone always marked their Referral as urgent and important which were lies most of the time particularly ones that ended up getting pushed for 100 meetings and it didn’t affect anything one bit. Instead the Referral creator has to explain how the Referral fits into the approved priorities from the City Council’s priority setting workshop:

So it requires the referral person to provide their explanation in written form rather than word vomiting for eight minutes on the dais when we all could be doing something better with that time.

1 Comment »

  1. I’m glad to see the Mayor reminding the City Council of the goals they set in the July 20th Priority Setting Workshop. I’ve been noticing the surrounding cities working on similar type goals — and preparing for the reopening of the economy hopefully in the coming months.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 3, 2021 @ 9:24 am

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