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Home » News » Refresher Course On Public Hearings For Council

Refresher Course On Public Hearings For Council

July 19, 2014

By Mallory Ragon
CityDesk@lstribune.net

The city council got a review of public hearings at their work session this week. The best practices training was for the benefit of the three new members of the council (Trish Carlyle, Diane Forte and Diane Seif) and based on identification of public hearings as an issue in some litigation that the city has been involved in. John Mautino, deputy city attorney, gave the presentation.

The three main types of public hearings are for public feedback, which are typically less formal; administrative determinations, which are more formal and typically focus on the rights or status of a person, as in the revocation of a license Mautino noted that these are extremely rare; and land use, which are both the most common and the most likely to be challenged.

Mautino stressed the importance of protecting the record: “The decision you make as a body will be impacted by the quality of the record.”

He reminded the council that public hearings are recorded and, after the fact, easily transcribed. Jokes or inferences may not be interpreted the same way on paper as they were affected in person. He also recommended that the council remember to stick to the facts, stay on track and minimize personalization in order to keep a clear and defendable record.

“The long and short of it is,” Mayor Randy Rhoads summarized, “in a public hearing, we’re building a record.”

Mautino agreed with a qualification: “For most of them yes. Some are more intended just as a way to get feedback from residents, as in for the budget.”

Councilmembers Derek Holland and Dave Mosby were absent from the July 17 meeting.


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