Rule 19. Appearing Before Council (Five-Day Rule).
Any person, group or delegation wishing to be placed on the agenda to appear before Council shall direct a letter to the Clerk of Council so it is received by the Clerk no later than 12:00 Noon on the Thursday preceding the regularly scheduled Tuesday Council meeting, or the fifth day prior to the scheduled meeting if it is scheduled for a day other than Tuesday. The Mayor may suspend the Thursday rule in the event of unusual or emergency circumstances.
Loveland, Ohio – Life long Loveland resident Sherry Hamlin prepared a presentation to give at the September 12 council meeting, but while practicing it she discovered it was too long to fit into the five minutes allotted if she spoke during the Open Forum agenda item of the meeting. She said, “As I practiced my presentation it was running long and I didn’t want to cut it short.”
Anyone is allowed to just go to a meeting and sign a sheet at the doorway to the council chambers and they are given five minutes to address any subject on their mind, but Hamlin also knew of the “Appearing Before Council (Five-Day Rule)” which allows people to contact the Clerk of Council by noon on the Thursday preceding the meeting, and be allowed ten minutes of speaking time.
Hamlin said she wrote the required request three days before the cut-off, and it was the first time she had ever requested to speak in that time slot. “What happened next surprised me. I received a reply that Vice-Mayor Angie Settell denied my request to speak before council and suggested I consider speaking during the Open Forum instead. It seems I don’t have much choice since I was omitted from the agenda published on Friday.” She said there were no other requirements, “I just had to do was ask by Thursday at noon. I asked on Monday, nearly three full days before the deadline and I saw nothing in the rules that allowed the Vice-Mayor to deny my request.”
After the meeting, Hamlin told Loveland Magazine that what she originally wanted to talk about at the council meeting would have to wait for another meeting because the denial of speaking rights suddenly took precedence.
Hamlin said that business owner Tim Canada who does not live in Loveland or pay personal income taxes to the City has appeared during the ten-minute time slot four times since the beginning of the year. She asked Settell, “So I would like to ask this question. Why is it that a local business owner is permitted to speak during persons before Council, but I a resident am not?”
You can watch these LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV videos to see Hamlin asking her question, Settell’s response, and Councilwoman Kathy Baliey’s response. The Vice-Mayor defended her actions however Bailey raised some of the same questions as Hamlin.
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