Chad Franz Looks To Revise Town Council Rules of Order

The Town Council discussed potentially changing its rules for meetings at the March 18 reorganization meeting.
Newly named Town Council Chair, Chad Franz, said under a provision in the Town Charter, within 10 calendar days of people taking their oath of office following the election, they need to adopt their rules.
During the meeting, Franz had a series of proposed revisions to the rules, which he passed out at the meeting to the rest of the Town Council.
Former Town Council Chair, John Farrell, said if they were going to discuss it, then it needed to be done in public.
“If we’re not gonna discuss this in public, I’m going to invoke councilor privilege,” he said.
Franz said that he was looking to have a discussion on it.
He said most of the changes were similar to what they have in place.
“To ensure orderly and productive public hearings and commit sessions, the Londonderry Town Council has established the following guidelines,” Franz said reading from the proposed rules. “These rules aim to facilitate constructive dialogue and are subject to enforcement of the Chair’s discretion subject to overruling by the Council.”
One of the suggestions raised by Town Councilor, Ron Dunn, was related to an advisory citizens petition warrant article, which voters overwhelmingly approved during the Town Election.
The warrant article asked voters if they wanted to see a change to the Municipal code making public comment required at all official meetings at the beginning and at the end of meetings. The vote was 3,085 to 1,077 in support of the change .
“Based on the election results, would we be able to have public comment at the beginning and at the end of the meeting?” Dunn asked.
Since the warrant article was advisory only, after being changed during the Deliberative Session, it meant that it was non binding.
Farrell said they need to have more discussion about that change.
It was also explained by Farrell that he was not aware about anything in the Town Charter that requires that they adopt their rules annually.
Additionally, Farrell said he felt that they needed to get legal advice from their Town Counsel to find out if the proposed rules would be legal for them to adopt, and whether or not they are required to adopt the rules each year.
Other Town councilors agreed with Farrell.
“See what the new lawyer says,” Farrell said.

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