Evanston aldermen Monday will consider several ideas for getting Monday night City Council meetings over while it’s still Monday night.

They are scheduled to consider at a Rules Committee meeting:

  • Eliminating the Administration and Public Works Committee meetings — which now lead off the Monday marathons at 6 p.m. The immediate past chair of that committee, Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, has suggested its business — mainly approving city contracts — could be folded into the main City Council meeting, where aldermen now vote on all those matters anyway. Five of the nine aldermen now serve on the Administration and Public Works Committee.
  • Starting Planning and Development Committee meetings earlier — at 6:30 rather than 7:15 p.m. The recent adoption of the use of a consent agenda by the Administration and Public Works Committee to shorten its sessions has opened up the possibility of an earlier start for Planning and Development. Seven of the nine aldermen serve on the Planning and Development Committee.
  • Setting an end time for City Council meetings. Last fall the aldermen considered, but didn’t act on a proposal to set an 11 p.m. end time for their meetings and received information about other communities that set end times at early as 9:30 or 10 p.m. and then require a majority vote of aldermen to continue a meeting beyond that point.

The aldermen are also scheduled to consider a proposal to set time limits for public comment at standing committee meetings.

In a letter last week, the Public Access Bureau of the state Attorney General’s Office applied the 45-minute limit for public comment in the City Council’s rules for City Council meetings to meetings of standing committees, in the absence of any separate time limit specified by the Council rules for commtitee meetings, and concluded that failure to provide that much time at a December meeting of the Rules Committee violated the state Open Meetings Act.

A memo from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz suggests setting public comment time limits for committee meetings of 10 minutes if there there are five or fewer speakers, and a total of 20 minutes if there are more than five speakers and that no speaker would be allowed to speak for longer than two minutes.

His proposal would provide an additional 20 minutes of public comment at Planning and Development Committee meetings for each Planned Devleopment application.

Monday’s Rules Committee meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Cty Council Chambers at the Civic Center.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.