Town Of Normal To Loosen Public Comment Rules

Mar 7, 2017

File photo of Normal Town Council listening to a presentation.
Credit Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal later this month may loosen its rules on public comment at council meetings. During Sound Ideas, Mayor Chris Koos elaborated on his proposal to end the 45-day limit on individual appearances, and expanding the total time for comment per meeting from 10 to 20 minutes.

"Citizen concern, council concern -- there were a couple of people on the council who thought we were too rigid on that, advice from our legal staff -- they were saying it might be too tight," said Koos, listing reasons to loosen the policy. "We wanted to hear from the Attorney General. It's taking forever to hear from them."

Koos says the council will continue to waive the time limit rules as needed. When Rivian sought performance-based incentives in December, speakers had as much as an hour total to speak.

Koos said he's not concerned loosening rules on public comment will lead to trash-talking at town council meetings. He said there are other ways to guard public speech at meetings.

"We are still maintaining that it has to be germane to the agenda," said Koos. "You can get up and talk about how you think your councilman is doing. That's not an agenda item."

He said the move is not political, even though his opponent in next month's election, Marc Tiritilli proposed similar changes. Koos also says it's not a reaction to a proposed bill in Springfield that the sponsor says is aimed squarely at Normal's current policy.

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