Monday, December 10, 2018

The Power of the Agenda

Because the Council can’t take action on anything that isn’t on the agenda (public notice requirements, etc.) it’s important to understand how things are placed on the agenda, and how action can stem from that. Any member of the Council can request for an item to be placed on the agenda either during a regular council meeting (typically in the “Council Items” section of the meeting) or requested to be placed on the agenda outside of Council meetings.

These requests are gathered and sequenced into the regular Council meeting agendas based on a number of factors, including available staff time, and other items already slated to be on the agenda. That is only the first step however.  This first step only prompts the Council to have a discussion.  City staff will not take action on these items unless directed by the Council collectively – and this is done during the Council meetings. So an item on the agenda can be discussed between Council Members and only if a majority agrees to direct staff to take certain action, will City staff take action.

This is why it’s so important to have a Council who are responsive to the residents. Without initiation by Council Members, issues can simply be excluded from the agenda and therefore no action can be taken.

One thing that we know will be on a future agenda is a continued discussion of parolee housing. Council Member Diaz requested this at a previous meeting to be discussed sometime after the new year.  I'll be discussing this in greater detail in a future post - stay tuned.