Please Comment on Proposed Public Comment Policy

Summary

At the Illinois Heartland Library System Board of Directors meeting on January 29, 2020, a proposed Public Comment Policy (PDF linked) was reviewed by the board in a first reading. It is now being sent out for public comment. Members of IHLS and the public are encouraged to review the proposed policy and share their comments prior to the next IHLS Board of Directors meeting, scheduled for February 25, 2020.


MEMO TO:     IHLS Board of Directors
FROM:            Leslie M. Bednar
DATE:             January 28, 2020
RE:                 Draft Public Comment Policy

Background

The lack of a public comment policy came to the attention of IHLS staff in spring 2019, and it seemed prudent to have such a procedure in place. The matter was thereafter referred to the Policy and Membership Committee.

Activity

In January two committees took action on a proposed public comment policy. The Policy and Membership Committee settled on a draft which was then sent to the Executive Committee for consideration. In their deliberations, the Executive Committee made two slight changes to the original draft. The updated version is recommended for board consideration.

The proposed draft is a reflection of the current membership of the referring committee. It is a compilation of policies from their respective home libraries. The committee recommends a procedure for monitoring speakers and collecting contact information from any person wishing to make a public comment be developed by IHLS staff and board upon adoption of the policy.

Process

As with all IHLS policies it is our practice to allow two readings at the board level. This is the first reading. Following tonight’s [January 28] meeting we will post the draft policy with any additions (if appropriate) to our website and seek member input. Feedback will be shared with the originating committee and the board at our February meetings. We currently have the policy tentatively scheduled for a second reading and vote for our February 25 board meeting. Thank you for your consideration and input.


DRAFT PUBLIC COMMENT POLICY FOR IHLS BOARD MEETINGS
January, 2020

The Illinois Heartland Library System Board of Directors allows for public comment during a meeting. Those wishing to make a public comment need to appear at an IHLS hub, and should identify themselves at the beginning of each meeting as attendees at each location are recognized and indicate that they would like to speak during the public comment section of the agenda. They will also be asked to identify themselves when called at that point in the agenda. Comments will be limited to (5) minutes or less for a total of (30) minutes. If more than six people wish to speak, the 30 minutes allowed will be divided equally among all the speakers. The secretary will monitor the allotted time. If needed, that time can be extended at the discretion of the board. Each speaker must maintain civility and shall not disrupt the meeting by using obscene or threatening language. Any person who does so, or who poses a threat to public safety, will be removed from the meeting and the library.

In compliance with the Open Meetings Act, actions may not be taken on items not already on the agenda, but action may be deferred to a later Board meeting at the discretion of the Board. The Illinois Heartland Library Board is not required to respond to remarks made during the public comment section.


To make public comment, please use the comments form below below. Public comment will close on Monday, February 24, 2020. The IHLS Board will discuss comments and vote on acceptance of the changes at their meeting on February 25, 2020.

Comments

The draft of the Public Comment Policy is worded clearly and conveys the guidelines well.

The policy clearly states fair and judicious guidelines for public comment.

I do not see any problems with this proposed item.

Looks good. Very similar to our library’s policy.

No changes, looks good

I think that this is perfectly reasonable and fair. I support this.

I appreciate that the public commentary procedure is made simple for those who want to comment. The procedure seems clear and efficient!

I appreciate that the procedure is made simple for those who want to comment. The process seems clear and efficient.

The policy is well written.

This looks fine for official meetings. Will this end the practice of extending possible policy changes for comment online?

I agree. It looks good, and is very similar to our policy.

I see no issues.

It looks very good to me.

This looks reasonable to me.

The proposed policy looks reasonable and adequate.

the changes you made look good.

This looks good to me.

Looks good.

The only thing I would suggest to possibly make the meetings run smoother would be; anyone wishing to speak must sign up prior to the meeting, and provide a sign-in roster to determine the speaking order. This is what our policy requires, in addition our policy states that a written summary of the public comments will be recorded in the minutes of the Board meeting.

I like the wording of the policy and the structure of the comment process makes sense. It should be easy to execute.

"Those wishing to make a public comment need to appear at an IHLS hub" "Any person who does so, or who poses a threat to public safety, will be removed from the meeting and the library." Shouldn't these two sentences match for the location of the person making the comment.

On balance, i believe the policy is straightforward and easily understood. I do have one question, related to the # of public comment sections on each agenda. If there will continue to be two such portions of each Board agenda, does the 30 minutes get split up between the two items, or could you have two separate public comment sessions, each up to 30 minutes?

I don't agree with the part of the policy that states a person must appear at a hub to make a comment. How long of a drive would it be for some of the outlying areas to drive to one of the systems to make a comment on a topic they feel is important. I would have to drive 45min one way and there are libraries farther away than me. For local library policies this seems fine but considering the area covered by IHLS I think the policy needs to be tweaked. Why couldn't an individual notify the system they wish to speak and then make their comment through ZOOM. The Board meets thru ZOOM. I would not allow phone comments but with ZOOM you can see who is talking to you. The language as stated will only discourage members from speaking up.
Thanks for allowing me to comment.

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