At the request of Mayor Fred Jung, Council voted 3-2 (Zahra and Silva “no”) at their Feb 1 meeting to change the start time of Council meetings from 6:30 to 5:30pm.
Jung has said that he wants to make the change to improve efficiency of the meetings, and to prevent them from stretching so late into the evening.
Councilmember Jesus Silva said the earlier start time may hinder public participation.
“One of our jobs is to allow the public to comment. Moving it to earlier may prevent some of that,” Silva said. “Even councilmembers have a hard time getting there earlier because they work other jobs.” Silva said he could support a 6:00pm start time.
Councilmember Nick Dunlap noted that some surrounding cities, such as Anaheim and Buena park, start at 5pm, and that technology can enhance public participation.
“I think this is a good opportunity for us to revisit how meetings are conducted–how to make them more efficient, more effective, and to allow more people to participate in the process, so I’m supportive of a 5:30 start time,” Dunlap said.
Councilmember Ahmad Zahra said he could not support the earlier start time “because even with Zoom, even with technology, people are either still at work or on their way back from work…This is purely out of convenience for this Council, and I don’t support that.”
Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Whitaker said he doesn’t personally support the idea of moving meetings earlier, “but I will support the Mayor’s discretion on this.”
Public no longer allowed to pull consent calendar items
Council also voted 4-1 (Zahra “no”) to disallow members of the public from requesting that consent calendar items be brought up for discussion (called “pulling”). Items on the consent calendar are often voted on en masse without discussion. Under the new rules, members of the public would have to ask councilmembers to pull items from the consent calendar.
“This is an avocation of the public to contact their elected official directly to pull consent items,” Mayor Fred Jung said. “Anyone who contacts me and says they’d like an item pulled, I’m happy to do that.”
Councilmember Ahmad Zahra, who voted against the rule change, said, “I believe our job is to facilitate and make it easier for the public to participate and to feel engaged. By disallowing them to pull items directly, we are putting one more obstacle in the way of them participating in civic government.”
The next City Council meeting is Tuesday, February 15 at 5:30pm.
The public may only participate via Zoom. Visit www.zoom.us/join or call 1-669-900-9128 and enter meeting ID 978 4219 1797.
Agenda items include: allocation of $16.5 million in federal relief, and Council direction on projects or programs to include in the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget.
You may view the meeting live online at https://fullerton.legistar.com, on Spectrum Cable Channel 3 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.
The Council meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Upcoming agenda information and streaming video of meetings are available at https://fullerton.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.
Contact Council at (714) 738-6311 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categories: Local News