After a six-month trial run using a new agenda format, the Burbank City Council decided to make the changes permanent.
Council members unanimously voted Tuesday to adopt the agenda format they have been using since December as a way to hopefully increase public participation and make meetings more efficient.
“I think, from practicing this, that it’s been working very well,” Councilman Jess Talamantes said. “It’s a work in progress, and if we find that something’s not working, we can bring it back and talk about it.”
One of the biggest changes to the agenda has been the public-comment process.
Erika De Leon, an administrative analyst for Burbank, said that for the past six months, speakers have had an average of about 16 minutes to speak during each meeting.
That is due, in part, to allowing speakers to make up to three-minute comments on every item on an agenda.
Though the general public-comment period was reduced from five to three minutes, De Leon said people have had multiple opportunities throughout meetings to speak again, so long as they do not talk about a specific item before it is heard.
Public speakers also have to keep using the modified speaker cards, which caused some confusion in the beginning.
These speaker cards, when they were first implemented late last year, allow the public to specify which item they will be speaking about and when, which is either during general public comments or when the item is being discussed by the City Council.
Additionally, those who do not want to speak but want to support or oppose an item will be able to do so.
To avoid confusion, De Leon said she and the city clerk’s office worked together to change the general public-comment card to inform speakers that they have two options when speaking about an agendized item.
Responses to public comment were originally changed to allow council members to make brief responses, but that was modified Tuesday to include City Manager Ron Davis and City Atty. Amy Albano.
City Council comments and the introduction of additional agenda items will continue to be the last items addressed during a meeting, which De Leon said allows city officials to prioritize public comments.
Another modification to the agenda order that council members agreed to was moving public-hearing items before any study sessions.