The draft ordinance is available here. For a more detailed explainer and analysis, please see this document.
Why should we have Public Comment in Cleveland?
Public comment allows members of the public to address City Council members at City Council meetings and at Council Committee meetings and hearings. The ability to address City Council encourages informed and active participation in local government. And by hearing from members of the public, Council members can learn about matters that are important to the public and make better informed decisions. The proposed ordinance provides a framework to permit public comment at regular City Council meetings and at Committee meetings and hearings.
So what’s the process?
The proposed ordinance has separate rules for Council meetings and Committee meetings and hearings.
Public comment at Council meetings
- Thirty minute comment period. The proposed ordinance provides thirty minutes at the beginning of Council meetings for the public to address Council. If the public comment period ends before Council gets to all the comments, Council could extend the public comment period or those waiting are prioritized at the next meeting.
- Public may speak on agenda items and subjects concerning the City. Members of the public may comment on any agenda item and subjects that concern the legislative, administrative, or public affairs of the City.
- Public must sign up ahead of time to address Council. People will sign up to comment using a form (available in English and Spanish and online and in hard copy), and will address Council in the order they signed up in with residents of Cleveland having priority over non-residents. A person can sign up to address Council up to the start of the Council meeting and can submit their public comment form as early as a week ahead of time.
- Each person may sign up to address Council at a Council meeting once every thirty (30) days.
Public comment at Committee meetings and hearings
- The public may comment on agenda items. People can address the committee on any agenda item.
- People can address the Committee before or after the Committee discusses each agenda item, at the discretion of the Chair. The Chair can decide if people may address the Committee on an agenda item either before or after Committee members have had a chance to discuss the agenda item among themselves, and the Chair can group comments by agenda item.
- Public must sign up ahead of time. People will sign up to comment using a form (available in English and Spanish and online and in hard copy) and would address the Committee in the order they signed up in. A person can sign up to address the Committee up to the start of the Committee meeting or hearing and can submit their form as early as a week ahead of time.
- Three minutes to address the Committee, but can be adjusted by the Chair. By default, each person has three minutes to address the Committee, but the Chair can change the time limits as long as everyone is subject to the same time limits for the same subject.