The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 14, 2012

Board adopts meeting rules

By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 — Jim Prosser, executive director for the Centralina Council of Governments, gave a presentation at Misenheimer’s monthly village meeting on Monday.

Prosser's presentation was in regards to the Village of Misenheimer’s Rules of Procedure, which he was asked to take a look at and form an opinion.

“We’ve previously had help on developing procedures for the Board of Adjustments, but not for the village council. We need to establish rules and procedures for the village council meetings,” said Mayor Michael Riemann.

Prosser, a former city manager, concluded that the proposed Rules of Procedure will fit the community of Misenheimer very nicely.

“These meetings are moments of truth. The public looks at you and wants to make sure you’re accountable. You want to prepare for these extreme circumstances,” said Prosser.

Prosser identified three things that he looks for when he’s looking over Rules of Procedure.

“I look for respect for the law, respect for the public and respect for each other on the council,” said Prosser.

In regards to respect for the law, Prosser identified three items that need to be observed.

First, Prosser advised that the council members form a checklist for each meeting, such as an agenda. This document needs to be prepared before hand and followed.

Second, Prosser advised documenting the checklist as it is gone though at each meeting. This would help with legal expenses.

Lastly, he pointed out that the council needs to be aware of their policies versus their practices.

In regards to respect for the public, Prosser had the following to say:

“Set expectation ahead of time; if you're introducing a topic for discussion, keep the discussion on the topic.

“Secondly, don't debate at public hearings, it's not the time for it. Direct the comments to the elected officials. You want to establish comments in the record.

“Third, create a record. You need to hear advantages and disadvantages. Listen to public feedback.”

In regards to respect for the council, Prosser said that he thought all comments should go through the chair or the mayor, whoever is currently in charge. Furthermore, one person should speak at a time, on one idea at a time.

Lastly, Prosser advised taking discussions step-by-step; by working through an issue one thing at a time, one steadily and orderly gets through it.

After going through he Rules of Procedure, the council voted to accept the rules with the changes they added.

Also, Prosser was there in regards to the CONNECT initiative, which is aimed at helping develop the region, as it is one of the largest growing regions in the country.

There will be a CONNECT open house meeting at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center on Monday December 3 from 4-7 p.m. and also in Locust at the SCC Crutchfield Campus at the same time on December 6.

The next Misenheimer Village Council meeting will be on December 10 at 6 p.m. at the Community Building.