Time limit ordinance for public speakers revisited
The Carmel City Council will try again to pass an ordinance setting a three-minute time limit for speakers from the general public at council meetings.
Councilor Sue Finkam introduced the ordinance in 2015 only to see it die 3-3 at a Dec. 7 meeting. Councilor Ron Carter was absent but said he would have voted for the proposal had he been in attendance, thus ensuring its passage. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard was also absent at that meeting and could have broken the tie in favor of passage.
The three councilors who voted against the proposal — Luci Snyder, Eric Seidensticker and Rick Sharp —are all no longer on the council, having lost their respective elections.
Usually, after an ordinance is voted down it has to sit for 90 days before it can be reintroduced. This is to prevent someone from constantly reintroducing legislation that fails to pass.
Finkam asked that the council vote to lift the 90-day wait and enter the ordinance into business.
“I don’t see any reason why the ordinance needs to sit when it can be used to help effectively run meetings,” she said. “Plus, we have a new council.”
That motion passed, but some councilors, such as Jeff Worrell, asked that the ordinance be tabled for at least a meeting so the public could have an opportunity to speak on the proposed rule changes. Worrell said he supports the idea and an informal poll of councilors suggests the proposal is likely to pass.
Councilors agreed and tabled the issue, which will allow members of the public to speak about the proposal at the next meeting on Feb. 1 at City Hall. Anyone wishing to comment must fill out a blue card and turn it in before the meeting starts at 6 p.m.