Council making changes to public comment and adding new public input resources

by Jillian Riseman, CivicLex

Last week, the Public Input Subcommittee reported on their work to the General Government & Planning Committee.

Over the past 6 months, the Public Input Subcommittee has worked to reimagine how members of our community interact and engage with local government and its processes. CivicLex has also been at the table providing feedback and data from our Public Input Report, which contained a series of recommendations based on survey data to improve public input.

The Public Input Subcommittee’s recommended several changes to public input, including:

  • Creating a digital sign-in process for giving public comment.
  • Reducing how many speakers can yield their time to a single person from four to two.
  • Reducing the total possible time one can speak from 15 minutes to 9 minutes.
  • Implementing new “security measures” such as no longer accepting USB drives from the public

There is also a brand new webpage on the LFUCG website dedicated to helping people better understand how to provide input on issues they care about. The webpage includes links to find your Councilmember, track and follow legislation, and watch recordings of past meetings.

There are also educational resources like information on all the standing committees and subcommittees, boards and commissions, and the legislative process overall.

Response from the other Councilmembers was overall favorable, though some concerns remain about how best to define and enforce rules of decorum. Ultimately, the Committee voted to adopt these new rules as section 3.106 in the overall Council Rules & Procedures. The Public Input changes will be voted on by the full Council in early September.

After this report out, the Public Input Subcommittee met again last Thursday morning to debrief and discuss further changes to the public comment process – mainly, debating whether or not to add public comment to Council Committee meetings. LFUCG Chief Information Officer Liz Rogers provided guidance on adopting and implementing new technology policies, such as how to safely accept digital files from members of the public during public comment, and alternatives to USB drives.

Discussion will continue at the next Public Input Subcommittee meeting, which will be held on October 12, 2023 at 10am in the 5th floor conference room at City Hall. You can attend this meeting in-person.

Photo: Vice Mayor Dan Wu speaks at the August 15 General Government and Planning Committee meeting. (LexTV screenshot)

Republished from CivicLex under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Disclosure: CivicLex receives funding from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.