Red Deer City Councillors are looking at making procedural changes at an upcoming meeting. (Advocate file photo)

Red Deer City Councillors are looking at making procedural changes at an upcoming meeting. (Advocate file photo)

Red Deer city councillors reduce public speaking times — but not their own

City councillors gave initial approval to some procedural changes designed to make their meetings clearer, more efficient and transparent to the public.

City Council passed the first reading of an updated Procedure Bylaw on Monday. Under the new rules, councillors will officially now be allowed in future to attend meetings either in person or virtually.

They will also retain their right to mention random points of interest before agenda items are dealt with.

And they will keep the right to speak for 10 minutes in total during one meeting — including the questions they ask. However, councillors were told they will be provided with count-down clocks on their screens so they can keep track of the time that’s left to them.

One of the biggest procedural changes, as it affects Red Deerians, is the speaking time for members of the public at public meetings has been reduced to five minutes from 10 previously. This aligns with public speaking times in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and several other communities.

Interim City Manager Tara Lodewyk said it was time to re-look at procedural rules. The last update was in 2012. Since then there have been many changes, such as the use of technology and knowledge of parliamentary law.

Another part of the new Procedure Bylaw are new, clearer process for setting of Council agendas with the introduction of an Agenda Review Committee.

“I’m particularly excited about the transparency the new Procedure Bylaw provides to Council, administration and the public,” said Mayor Ken Johnston.

“Knowing how and why items get on the agenda, having clear direction on how the public can participate in meetings, improves understanding and efficiency for the entire community.”

Second and third readings for the Procedure Bylaw are slated for March 28.

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