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Attending a City Council Meeting

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Meeting Agendas

Attending a City Council Meeting pdf-icon-sm

Meeting agendas help provide the order of public meetings. The City Council adopts rules of procedure to conduct business during meetings. State law requires each city and town to establish a procedure for notifying the public of the agenda for forthcoming council meetings RCW 35A.12.160. 

The City of Tumwater provides advance notice to the public by posting in The Olympian newspaper. A preliminary agenda is posted at City Hall, the Tumwater Library and Old Town Center.

Tumwater City Council Meetings generally follow an established order:

  1. Roll Call
  2. Flag Salute
  3. Approval of the Agenda
  4. Special Items
  5. Public Comment: (for discussion of items not having a public hearing already listed on the agenda) 
  6. Consent Calendar
  7. Public Hearings
  8. Council Considerations
  9. Committee Reports
  10. Mayor/City Administrator's Report
  11. Councilmember Reports
  12. Executive Session

Special Items

Special items may include the presentation of a proclamation or other presentation to elected officials, to staff, or to the public by the City or presentations to the City or any official made by someone else. Presentations by citizen groups or outside agencies must have prior approval of the Mayor. Discretion is used in scheduling special items to help ensure the topics are timely, relevant to Tumwater and the City's business, and of general interest to the community. Generally, no more than two special items are listed on the meeting agenda.

Public Comment

At each council meeting there is an opportunity for the public to address the Council concerning issues that are not on the agenda. Public comments are taken at the beginning of each meeting. 

Giving Testimony 

  1. Sign up on the paper provided just inside the Council Chambers, on the table at the back of the room. Persons on the sign-in sheets will be called in order. When your name is called, come to the podium. State your first and last name for the record and your address. If you have a particular qualification by education/training, state that "I am a civil engineer." (If you can't find a sign-in sheet, the Mayor will ask if there is anyone else who wishes to testify after everyone on the sign-in sheet has been called to the podium.) Please note that the sign-in sheet is a public record, potentially eligible for release upon request. 
  2. Address the Mayor as "Mr. Mayor" or "Your Honor" 
  3. Address Council Members as "Council Member (last name) " 
  4. Use your time at the podium to give your testimony. Direct your comments to the Council, not to members of the audience. Public comment period is not a dialogue. This is testimony for purposes of creating a legislative record. The Council will use your testimony to help them understand the issue and make a decision. 
  5. The Council may question you about your testimony, ask for clarification, etc. 
  6. If you have documents to submit, hand them to the Mayor and ask for them to be admitted into the record. 
  7. When you are finished with your testimony, please take your seat, unless the Mayor or Council has questions for you. 

Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda contains routine business items which are not controversial in nature and which do not need further discussion. Items the Council removes from the Consent Agenda will be considered and acted upon following adoption of the remaining consent items or moved specifically to another section on the agenda. Most items on the Consent Agenda have already been subject to public review at either a Council Committee meeting or Worksession.

Public Hearings

Public Hearings are scheduled near the middle of the Council Agenda. A sign-in sheet is available for those wishing to testify. Following a brief presentation by staff, the Mayor invites the public to testify from the sign-in sheet first. (Please follow the suggestions as stated above under Giving Testimony.) The Mayor will also ask if there is anyone else present who would like to speak but has not used the sign-in sheet. After everyone is finished speaking, the Mayor will close the public portion of the hearing and the Council will discuss the matter and may take action. 

What not to do at a Public Hearing: 

  1. Do not attempt to ask questions of the Council or the Mayor from your seat in the audience. If you wish to give testimony during the Public Hearing, please use the sign-in sheet, or, when the Mayor asks if anyone wishes to give testimony, please raise your hand. You will be invited to the podium. 
  2. Do not ask to take the podium after the Public Hearing has been closed. Once the Public Hearing is closed, no further testimony of any kind will be taken - even to ask/answer questions. 

Council Considerations

Council Considerations are items which may require discussion between Councilmembers. A presentation, usually by City staff, is given to Council, followed by the opportunity for Council discussion. The City Council generally takes actions on these items. Public comments on Council Considerations items may be taken with consensus of the Council.

Executive Session

The Council may recess the regular Council meeting for Executive Session. This is a closed portion of the meeting where the Council can discuss confidential legal matters, personnel matters, labor negotiations, property transactions, and/or matters of national security. These are the only issues which may be discussed in Executive Session. If there is an Executive Session, it will either be listed on the Agenda or announced at the beginning of the meeting. The Agenda or Mayor will always list the subject of the Executive Session.