City Council and Planning Commission Meetings
Public Meeting Guidelines
Learn to listen so that you hear clearly what your fellow commissioners have to say, what citizens have to say, and what staff has to say. Focus on listening, rather tan on what you will say in response. State what you tin you heard and ask for clarification before responding, in an effort to enhance understanding. Listen with respect for the individual speaking and for what is being said in order to build trust. Listen with an open mind. Urge persons of various points of view to speak and promise to listen to these positions seriously.
II. Seek Consensus
By listening with an open mind, it is possible to discern common ground among many competing viewpoints. Seeking this common ground and creating a consensus means that the process may be more important than the product. Sometimes more study on an issue helps to create consensus and may offer opportunities for finding commonalities of interest.
III. Disagree Agreeably
Reasonable people with good intentions may disagree with one another. Disagreement is not bad as long as the opinions of others are treated with respect. Don’t lose sight of the issue at hand during a heated debate. Avoid grandstanding-reasonable arguments clearly backed up by careful homework may win a debate rather than making another commissioner uncomfortable with hyperbole. Conflict can be an opportunity for new insights, learning, and individual and organization growth. Disagreements can illuminate a topic in helpful ways and can present solutions to problems that previously had not been seen. The successful resolution of conflict can bind people together in powerful ways.
IV. Respect the Will of Majority
Live with the results of a vote on an issue. Debate may be lively and heated, but once a decision is made and a vote taken, it is important to recognize this decision as the intent of the majority of the commission and take no actions to undermine the decision. Move on, without rancor.
V. Respect the Rights of the Minority
Be sensitive to the feelings and concerns of those who do not agree with the majority. Respect their rights of conscience.
VI. Do not publicly embarrass or humiliate fellow commissioners, citizens, or staff. While disagreements are expected and acceptable, always maintain an atmosphere of good will an respect, no mater who is speaking. Focus on ideas and suggestions instead of questioning people’s motives, intelligence, or integrity. Do not ask questions or make statement in a way that will intimidate or judge others.
VI. Share information
Always share relevant information with fellow commissioners and staff, so that everyone has the same information. Staff members also must make certain that information is shared with all commissioners in a timely manner.
VII. Make Decisions in the Open
Create an environment in which the City’s business is conducted in the open and in which debate is encouraged and valued. Adhere not only to the letter, but also to the spirit of the Open Meetings law. Avoid speaking for the Commission as a group outside of the Commission meetings.
VIII. Nurture the Value of the Individual; Recognize the Strength of the Team
Individual commissioners have differing strengths, interest, and abilities. Take advantage of these differences when discussing issues. Not everyone can be an expert on every issue. Lean what perspective individuals bring to discussions. However, never lose sight of the fact that the Commission’s legal and political strength comes from working as a team. Constituents expect their elected and appointed officials to learn to work together and with citizens to further the best interests of the City as a whole.
IX. Trust Your Judgment; Make Tough Decisions
Commissioners are appointed to make informed decision and recommendations. Seek many opinions on an issue. Ten calls on a particular issue may not represent the feelings of all residents. Find out who is impacted by decisions. Trust your judgments to decide what is best for the City as a whole, while protecting the rights citizens.
X. Avoid “Meeting Night” Tunnel Vision
Resist the temptations to form a perception about how the City functions based on what happens on Commission meeting evenings. Problems are resolved, projects are planned, citizens receive service, and decisions are made throughout the week. Keep what happens at Commission meetings within the context of the operation of the entire City.
XI. This Too Shall Pass
Controversial issues may cause sleepless nights. However, there will always be another issue looming on the horizon that may be just as controversial. Over time it will be difficult to remember what was controversial a mere three months earlier. Keep a balanced perspective, and above all, maintain a healthy sense of humor.
-ideas taken from the Shoreview’s Council Manual; City of Plymouth Staff and Commission Guide; Loveland, Colorado’s council Orientation Guide; and the 204th General Assembly of Presbyterian Church guidelines.
Policies and Procedures
Welcome to the
And Thank You for your active citizenship!
Hugo City Council
Policy and Procedures for a Public Hearing
The Presiding Officer shall maintain strict order and etiquette at all meetings of the Council.
This is the time for public to make comments or ask questions about the proposal.
Addressing the Council
Any person desiring to address the Council shall first secure the permission from the Presiding Officer.
When addressing the Council, each person shall state his/her full name and address in an audible tone for the permanent record.
Comments should be limited to five (5) minutes unless further time is granted by the Presiding Officer. All comments should be directed to the Council as a body and not to any individual Council Member or City Staff Member unless permission is granted by the Presiding Officer. No person shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the Council without the permission of the Presiding Officer.
6. The council will then discuss the proposal. No further public comments are
7. The council will then make a recommendation(s) and/or a decision.
Council Meeting Etiquette
The Council must preserve order and decorum while the meeting is in session. A resident shall not, by conversation or other wise, delay or interrupt the proceedings or the business of the Council nor disturb any resident or Council Member while speaking or refuse to obey the orders of the Council.
Hugo City Council
Phone: 651-762-6300; Fax 651-426-2859
Visit our web site at www.ci.hugo.mn.us