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Jonesboro City Council Nominating and Rules Agenda Commentary — May 25

Welcome to another edition of the Jonesboro City Council Explication Project, Committee Edition, a project by a political nerd for political nerds or anyone who wants to learn more about their city government. Remember that municipal (city council), county (quorum court), and state government (state legislature) bodies have a bigger impact on your day to day life than the president. You can watch the meetings live on the city’s Facebook page at City of Jonesboro, AR – Government.

If you would like me to email you when these posts go live message me and share what email I should use (only I will ever see it).

Nominating and Rules Members: Chris Gibson (chair), Chris Moore, Ann Williams, Dr. Charles Coleman, Brian Emison, Charles Frierson

Agenda: https://jonesboro.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=868507&GUID=7FCBED13-70D0-4447-ACA4-B3A8B2D5F7AE

1. Call to Order 4:45PM

2. Roll Call

3. Approval of Minutes

MIN-21:031: Minutes for the Nominating & Rules Committee meeting on April 14, 2021.

4. New Business

ORD-21:025: An ordinance to amend the Jonesboro Code of Ordinances Chapter 2 Article 3, entitled City Council, establishing City Council rules and procedures for 2021.

Commentary: This is why it’s good to pay attention to committee business! I’m calling myself out on this point—I’m particularly bad at it because I’m busy. This ordinance is setting up some rules for how the city council functions.

One change is making sure the rules explicitly allow council members to be counted present when they’re attending virtually. This is an excellent accessibility change. Three cheers!

Another change: setting the deadline for agenda items to 10AM on the Thursday before the next meeting. As someone who is a fan of agendas (SHOCKING, I KNOW!) this seems fine.

One fairly relevant change is the limitation on people speaking for/against each item.

There shall be a three (3) minute time limit per person with no redundancy for proponents and opponents of agenda items. There shall be a maximum of four persons per side for proponents and opponents to speak for or against.

This is a good example of why reading agendas ahead of time and writing to the council with your thoughts is good. Emails allow you more time and space to share your thoughts (although being concise is important!) and there’s none of the pressure of public speaking. This is also useful for activists. Be sure to send your best and most capable communicators! to be your representatives!

There’s also a change to ordinance proposals. The council will have six months to act on an ordinance, instead of three. Additionally, they’re adding a rule that says that once an ordinance fails, it can’t be brought up again for another six months unless there are big changes.

Anyway, there’s a few more things. Those are the items that jumped out at me. The document is here and proposed changes are in red.

5. Pending Items

6. Other Business

7. Public Comments

There were no comments at the last meeting during this period. There were comments from the public in other sections of the meeting, though. Those can be read in the minutes.

8. Adjournment