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Meeting Agenda Process

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Reviewed Date: May 20, 2014

Original Author: 
Broughton, Jeff
Date Created: 
May 6, 2014


Subjects:
City council--Procedure
Meetings--Planning and management

Meeting Agenda Process

Summary: 
MTAS was asked how to formalize and manage the city council meeting agenda preparation and distribution.

Knowledgebase-Meeting Agenda ProcessMay 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
council:

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


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MTAS letters and publications were written based upon the law at the time and/or a specific sets of facts. The laws referenced in the letters and publications may have changed and/or the technical advice provided may not be applicable to your city or circumstances. Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information contained in this database.