Rules about public comment at city meetings to change
by Steven Felschundneff | firstname.lastname@example.org
During Last Tuesday’s Claremont City Council meeting, City Manager Adam Pirrie announced that all written public comment, including emails and letters, will no longer be read during city meetings.
The change will apply to city council and all commissions. He said the move was necessary to shorten the length of those meetings, providing more people a chance to participate. All written public comment can be viewed on the city’s website.
“Written public comment will be distributed to the legislative body upon receipt and imaged into the record,” Pirrie said in his weekly newsletter.
The city manager also announced the governor had signed a bill amending the Brown Act, allowing cities to continue hosting meetings remotely. The legislation extends the emergency executive action taken in 2020 under which city councils and commissions could hold meetings via Zoom. In his newsletter, Pirrie said Claremont will not be returning to in-person meeting for now.
“With the COVID-19 Delta case numbers remaining high in L.A. County and restrictions for indoor spaces continuing under the county health order, the Claremont City Council, city commissions, and Brown Act committees will continue to meet via Zoom until further notice,” Pirrie said.
On Tuesday he said the city will “play it by ear” and he hopes to return to in-person meetings as soon as it’s safe. He noted that the council chamber is quite small and that it would be difficult to accommodate the sometimes large crowds that attend, particularly when the council is considering an issue of great public interest.
The city manager said online meetings seem to be working for now, as people have become accustomed to using Zoom. However, the city will go to a hybrid model, with both in-person attendance and online, once the local outbreak subsides enough.