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Public comment might slide down agenda

September 15, 2012

WOONSOCKET – That venerable preamble to every City Council meeting during which members of the general public get to speak their minds on their topic of choice may be in for a makeover.
For one thing, it wouldn’t be preamble any more.
If City Council President John Ward has his way, good and welfare will be tucked closer to the middle of the meeting.
General-topic good and welfare is now listed as the second item of every meeting under the rules of order, just after the opening prayer. It would become 10th under the contemplated overhaul, after the prayer, the pledge of allegiance, and a few other regularly scheduled, routine items of business that generally don’t take very long for councilors to handle.
Ward is also proposing a brand-new, supplementary good and welfare time slot for citizens who want to talk about specific items of new business, which are among the last items the council handles. To reserve a spot to address the council on those items, individuals would be required to add their names to a sign-up sheet before the meeting.
Speakers would be offered the opportunity to address each topic listed under new business for up to five minutes, on a rotating basis.
People who sign up to address items under new business will forfeit the opportunity if they’ve already spoken on it during general good and welfare at the beginning of the meeting.

Read more in the print edition.

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