CivicLex Proposes New Public Input Meetings

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At this Thursday’s Public Input Subcommittee meeting, the committee will discuss a CivicLex proposal for two new types of Council-hosted meetings that could be used as opportunities to gather more public input.

CivicLex has been working with the Urban County Council on evaluating its public input process and making changes to improve it since 2021. One of the recommendations in our 2023 Public Input Report to Council was to host meetings outside of City Hall specifically for public input.

In previous meetings, the Subcommittee discussed the viability of hosting official Council Meetings outside of city hall. Due to technological, logistical, and legal reasons, meetings for official business outside of city hall were ruled out. Instead, the committee asked CivicLex to bring forward pilot ideas to help start a conversation about what alternatives to official meetings designed to specifically gather public input could look like. Here are two of those ideas:

Option One: Issue Expos

An Issue Expo could be used for input about one specific item or issue being considered in City Hall. Based on CivicLex’s recent successful Civic Expos in high schools across the city, this type of event could consist of Councilmembers and LFUCG Divisions and Departments that engage with the item/issue tabling for a set amount of time at an accessible venue.

A meeting like this could encourage drop-in engagement from residents who cannot stay for a multi-hour meeting, and allow residents a multi-faceted experience in seeing an issue from the lenses of Councilmembers and city staff who would be present at the expo.

Option Two: Committee Previews

Based on our upcoming Civic Breakfast and our past On the Table events, this type of event could consist of a Council Committee hosting a two-part event where the Committee presents the topics coming up over the next quarter or 6 months, and then has facilitated On the Table-style conversations about the topics.

This format would allow for more structured back-and-forths with Councilmembers, allowing Councilmembers and residents to hear new perspectives and build relationships.

What has changed with Public Input?

In the past year, the Public Input Subcommittee and Council itself have adopted new policies that align with recommendations from CivicLex’s Public Input Report, including:

  • Adopting new digital public engagement software.

  • Creating a new Public Information officer position inside the Council’s office.

  • Creating a new sign-in process that helps government understand and track public comment.

  • Creating a public input page on the city’s website that explains how to provide public input and what issues are being discussed by Council.

  • Writing clearer rules and guidelines for giving public comment in chambers.

  • Creating a guide to LFUCG’s legislative process.

The Public Input Subcommittee will meet on Thursday, January 25th at 10:00 am in the 5th Floor Government Center Conference Room. You can attend this meeting in person.

Republished from CivicLex.

CivicLex’s work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

https://www.civiclex.org/weekly-posts/civiclex-proposes-new-public-input-meetings