Knowledgebase-Meeting Agenda Process

Information Product

Title:Meeting Agenda Process
Summary:MTAS was asked how to formalize and manage the city council meeting agenda preparation and distribution.
Original Author:Broughton, Jeff
Product Create Date:05/06/2014
Last Reviewed on::05/20/2014
Subject:City council--Procedure; Meetings--Planning and management
Original Document: Meeting agenda process no city.pdfMeeting agenda process no city.pdf

Reference Documents:

Text of Document: May 6, 2014

Dear ___________:

You recently inquired about a successful way to manage the agenda preparation process. As I
understand it, presently any member of council can place an item on the agenda for consideration
of the full board. As I further understand it, no policy has been established to guide this important
matter in the city.

Please be advised that Section 2(f)(1) of the city charter authorizes the city council to “determine its
rules of procedures and provide for their enforcement.”

Accordingly, a best practice worth consideration is to formalize the process for agenda preparation
and distribution through the adoption of a policy via resolution. The following suggested policy
should assist in the management of the agenda development process upon its adoption by the city

Agenda Preparation and Distribution
    1. The agenda will be prepared by the city manager. The finished
    agenda with associated material for council meetings and work
    sessions will be placed in each council member's mailbox in City Hall
    at least three days in advance of the scheduled meeting day. A copy
    of the agenda packet shall be made available to the news media at
    the same time.

    2. If a member of city council desires that an item be placed on the
    agenda for formal consideration, such matter shall be first presented
    in concept to the full council under the City Council Comments section
    of the agenda, or at a work session, with the council to direct the city
    manager to include the requested item on the next or a future meeting
    agenda for formal consideration.

    3. Agenda materials concerning emergency items shall be furnished
    council members at the earliest time possible.

The adoption of such a policy has the following benefits:
    1. The responsibility for agenda preparation is centralized in the chief administrative
    officer that is best positioned to prepare full and complete background information
    to assist council in the deliberation of the matter;

    2. An orderly process is established for the conduct of the people’s business without
    the surprise factor of having items “show-up” at the last minute for discussion and
    formal consideration;

    3. The council does not waste its important time discussing an item that the council,
    as a body, has no interest in pursuing.

Please be advised that such a policy is not designed to discourage council discussion or thwart
council discourse on an unpopular or limited-view policy proposal; rather, it’s purpose it to formalize
how such matters advance (or not) following city council discussion on the merits of the suggestion.

Please let me know if you have further questions regarding this matter.

Very truly yours,

Jeffrey J. Broughton
Municipal Management Consultant