CW Council “Coffees” evolve into Town Hall meetings

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Residents of Canal Winchester can still have coffee with city council members, but they will need to bring their cups to the community center in the future.

A Canal Winchester City Council rules committee—consisting of council members Pat Lynch, Jill Amos and Mike Coolman—met on Sept. 16 to discuss language addressing police protection, the community coffees and public comments during council meetings.

While initially proposing to hold the quarterly coffees, now known as informal Town Hall meetings, at 5 p.m. on Mondays before regular council sessions, Lynch modified the time and date after Councilman Bob Clark said the hour was too early.

“If you start it at 5 p.m., nobody is going to make it,” said Clark. “5 p.m. is way too early. I’d rather do it on a non-council night; a Monday we’re not in and meet at 7 p.m.”

Coolman said he, too, was more in favor of meeting earlier in the week and later at night. He felt holding the informal sessions earlier in the week would make it easier for residents to attend.

After consulting committee, Town Hall and community center calendars, the three council members agreed on changing the language setting rules for the quarterly meetings to the second Tuesday of October, January, April and July at 7 p.m.

Law Director Gene Hollins said while the meeting format is more informal than regular council sessions, they still must be run in some accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, including basic minutes.

“You don’t want to make it uninviting to the public, but you have to have some order,” said Hollins, “as long as you have someone running the meeting and not all talking at the same time.”

The first town hall session—considered a special meeting—will be held on Oct. 8 from 7-9 p.m. in the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St. The proposed rules change for the meetings will be forwarded to council for approval once legislation is crafted.

Other CW news
•Lynch proposed adding language to a section of city rules addressing fire and law enforcement service, inserting Madison Township as a supplemental service provider.

Coolman said he was comfortable with the addition as long as there was no implication that the city was contracting with the township for service.

•After resident feedback on speaking restrictions during city council public comment periods, Lynch suggested the rules be amended to allow speakers to ask up to two questions of council during their allotted five minutes of time, allow council members five minutes to respond and limit public commentary to no more than 45 minutes.

In addition, Deputy Clerk of Council Tiffany O’Donnell asked the committee to consider adding phone numbers and email information to the speaker list people sign before addressing council.

The pair of proposed rules changes will also be forwarded to council for approval.

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