MUNROE FALLS — Residents addressing city council at the next meeting will be notified in writing that their representatives are unable to discuss or answer questions about certain topics in a public forum.
Council President Jenny Markovich said she decided to assemble the list and provide it to meeting attendees "so that people don’t get upset when we can’t answer" their questions regarding certain subjects.
"I think it’s important that they know that council’s under strict rules," said Markovich. "It’s just a guide to help [people] understand."
This list will be at the podium for meeting visitors to view when they step forward to address council. Markovich said the topics that will be listed are the ones that council typically must address in an executive session, including pending litigation and personnel matters. Markovich said she will have Law Director Tom Kostoff assist her in putting together the list.
Markovich emphasized that residents are welcome to discuss any issue that they want to address.
"We haven’t silenced anyone," said Markovich. "Some things we [council] can’t discuss … We want residents to come and give us constructive comments. We’re not stopping them."
Markovich noted she also unveiled a couple of other new features for council’s committee meeting: Council members and other city officials now must sign in for the committee meeting. Other than the recording, Markovich said there was no other record kept of which council members and city officials attended a committee meeting. Attendance is not taken at a committee meeting; it is taken at the regular council meeting.
There will also now be a written agenda for the committee meeting on the second Tuesday of each month. Copies of that agenda will be made available to the public, according to Markovich.
She noted council has not previously had a written agenda for a council committee meeting.
"It gives everybody a succinct agenda on what we’re going to discuss and who’s going to discuss it," said Markovich. "It was basically administrative for myself."
She added members of the public are welcome to speak at any time during a committee meeting. They just need to raise their hand, according to Markovich.
For the regular council meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, there are two different opportunities where residents can make comments to council. Council members on Tuesday discussed whether they wanted to make any changes to that format, and Markvoich said members decided to leave the set-up as is.
These new features and the discussion about possible changes are geared toward "trying to run a more efficient meeting," said Markovich.
She noted council members wanted to take steps to shorten the meetings because "some of them go on and on and on forever."
Council’s next meeting is March 19 at 7 p.m. in city hall, 43 Munroe Falls Ave.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.