• 63°

Council may change way issues are voted on, meetings are run

SALISBURY — Robert’s Rules of Order are generally used by both large and small government bodies to ensure that every elected official’s voice is heard when taking a vote or voicing an opinion.

But there are other methods of parliamentary procedure that can be used to maintain municipal processes, and Mayor Al Heggins expressed interest in looking into those options at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Heggins said the UNC School of Government recommends that smaller municipalities like Salisbury establish their own rules of parliamentary procedure to make meetings run more efficiently and enhance the public’s understanding.

“Sometimes you don’t know when things are broken until you fix it,” Heggins said in a separate interview.

She referenced her recent mayoral training, which was at the UNC School of Government.

“We understand that everyone always talks about Robert’s Rules, but the recommendation is that you don’t use Robert’s Rules because Robert’s Rules — according to the (School of Government) in the training that we went to — it’s not designed for small bodies. It’s designed for larger bodies,” Heggins said.

Robert’s Rules of Order is about 700 pages long and covers phrasings and rules for every imaginable situation that could occur in an official meeting.

Heggins said she thinks the council should come up with simplified rules for meeting conduct that would more closely fit Salisbury’s needs.

At Tuesday’s meeting, other council members questioned what changes Heggins planned to make to the council’s parliamentary procedures.

Councilwoman Tamara Sheffield asked whether Heggins knew of any examples that the council could use as a template.

Heggins said there are different rules that other municipalities are using, “so we don’t have to re-create the wheel.”

Councilman Brian Miller said that in the nine years he has served on the council, he hasn’t found “anything deficient about what we’ve been doing.”

“But if there is a desire on the part of council to look at this, I think this is where you are wanting to go,” Miller said to Heggins.

He said that instead of having a discussion about it during the meeting — a process he called “making sausage” — the council should form a subcommittee focused on how and whether to change parliamentary procedure.

“That would allow this body to deal with things that are on our agenda and let the committee do the work and come back with a recommendation or a draft of suggestions,” Miller said.

Councilman David Post said he agrees with the idea of considering a shift away from Robert’s Rules, though he did not specify what changes — if any — he would support.

No subcommittee was formed by the end of the meeting, but council members did agree to look into the matter individually.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

 

Comments

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pancake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread