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Guest Walt Elliott

non-member particiation

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Guest Walt Elliott

We are a local elected Board.  At our meetings we have public comment in the beginning and then get on with our agenda.  When discussing an agenda item it has occurred that a Board member may want the view of someone in the audience, normally with unique knowledge related to the topic.  Outside the debate of a motion, may a member request  a non-member to give their views?  What would the procedure for doing this?

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I'll answer with a qualified "yes".  Since you are a public body, you are quite likely subject to local rules and a state open meetings law with govern your meeting procedures to a large extent.  However, provided there is no prohibition in those rules, RONR provides that non-members of the body which is meeting (guests or members of the public) may address the body with permission of the body.  Usually this permission is granted by the chairman with unanimous consent, but if there is an objection, all it takes is a majority to allow guests to address the body.

 

The procedure would probably be for a council member to address the chair and say something like, "Mr. Chairman, I see that John Wizard is in the audience.  I believe he has information that can be useful to us. If there is no objection, i would like him to approach the podium to give us his thoughts on this issue (or to answer some questions, or whatever)".  The chair would likely respond with, "Sure.  If there is no objection we will hear from Mr. Wizard.  Mr. Wizard, would you mind coming to the podium?"

 

It's really not a big deal.  If there is an objection, just move that Mr. Wizard be allowed to come to the podium to answer some questions.  A majority vote does it.

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