Burbank residents have always had the right to address the City
Council during its meetings, but they often haven’t been sure how to,
or even when.
To clear up confusion, the council this week agreed to review the
existing public-comment policy -- expanded from three to four
public-comment periods in June 2001 -- at the request of Councilman
Dave Golonski, who said the previous process provided greater
That policy allowed people to address the council on any item of
city business for five minutes during a single period at the start of
Under the present policy, the public can address the council
during four comment periods: before closed session; for one minute on
any item of city business following announcements and public
hearings; for four minutes on agenda items; and again on any item of
city business for three minutes at the end of the meeting.
“Attempting to enforce the restriction on agenda items only has
been problematic at best, and led to a number of debates as to
whether this is on the agenda or not,” Golonski said.
Celeste Francis, who addressed the council during Tuesday’s
meeting, said that many people who are unfamiliar with the system
find it confusing.
“I have had people ask me how oral communications works,” Francis
Mayor Stacey Murphy opposes a return to the previous policy, but
was willing to consider other options, including stretching the
one-minute period to two, an idea also supported by Councilman Todd
Murphy, though, thinks the present system works pretty well.
“It [seems] to focus us more on agenda items,” she said.
Golonski said the current system has its merits.
“The one-minute oral communications [period] at least gives you a
guarantee that you can get your comment in and get out of here by no
later than 8 p.m.,” Golonski said. “There have been times in the past
when oral communications could run until ...10 at night.”
After hearing at least four different proposals Tuesday night,
City Atty. Dennis Barlow said that he would return to the council
next month with an array of options, as well as comparisons of
policies in nearby cities.