Statement on Council’s Proposed Rules for Public Comment

Council members will have the opportunity to approve Procedures for Public Comment on Monday, September 20 at the regular City Council meeting.

On August 18, 2021, Council voted to change to its rules to provide a regular public comment period at Council meetings. The rule as originally introduced provided that public comment would occur in accordance with the procedures put forth by the Clerk of Council. The rule was amended to require that a majority of Council approve the procedures for public comment.

In February of 2021, Clevelanders for Public Comment (CPC) provided a proposed ordinance for public comment to Cleveland City Council members. The CPC proposal was drafted based on best practices, vetted for compliance with the First Amendment, and reviewed and endorsed by hundreds of people. The Council President has not acknowledged that this competing proposal exists.

Differences between the proposed public comment process and what Clevelanders for Public Comment have proposed include:

  • The CPC proposal provides a consistent, transparent process for providing public comment at Committee meetings and hearings. The procedures proposed by Clerk of Council establish a public comment period and procedure for Council meetings but does not change public comment procedures for Council Committee meetings and hearings.
  • The CPC proposal provides a 30-minute public comment period where each person has up to three minutes to comment but as many people may comment within that window as is possible. The procedures proposed by the Clerk of Council limits public comment to 10 total people.
  • The CPC proposal allows a person to sign up for public comment up to the start of the Council meeting. The procedures proposed by the Clerk of Council allows a person to sign up for public comment up until 2 PM on Monday before a 7 PM Monday meeting.
  • The CPC proposal provides that “Those who timely submitted their public comment form to the Clerk of Council but are unable to address Council during the public comment period due to an expiration of the public comment period will have first priority to address Council at the next Regular Council meeting.” The procedures proposed by the Clerk of Council do not include this provision.
  • The CPC proposal limits people to making a comment only once every thirty (30) days. The procedures proposed by the Clerk of Council do not include this provision.

Additional comparisons between the Procedures proposed by Clerk of Council and the CPC proposal are outlined in the full news release (PDF).

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