Fort Worth council amends public comment rules

The council voted to amend its rules of procedure and added a new section to address rules of conduct and tighten up rules on public comments during the citizen presentation of the council meetings. The time an individual speaker has to speak remains at three minutes.

Highlights include:

*Allowing the chair (mayor) to shorten a speaker’s time to two minutes at the chair’s discretion.

*Registration to speak at the council meeting has been moved to 5 p.m., whereas it was previous 15 minutes before the meeting.

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*No person shall be allowed to address the city council at the work session unless they are presenting on an agenda item or called upon to speak by the chair or the city manager.

*Presentation by a representative of an organized group consisting of a minimum of 10 people will be limited to six minutes. It was previously 10 minutes. The names of the 10 people persons shall be provided at the time the representative registers to speak and those 10 people must be present in the council chamber when the matter is called, must stand and be recognized before the representative is allowed to speak. A person counted as one of the 10 individuals represented shall not be permitted to speak on the same subject. If the 10 names are not listed, the representative is limited to three minutes.

The new section, rules of conduct, allows the chair to give a verbal warning and/or possible removal from the chambers if someone is deemed to distribute inappropriate language or behavior.

“I looked at the top 50 cities, and this is kind of beefing it up so citizens will know more what is expected of them,” City Attorney Sarah J. Fullenwider said.

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The council voted to implement the changes Nov. 30.