How Do Public Comments Work?

Public Comment Period During Regular Board of Supervisor Meetings

Those individuals of the public attending any official meeting of the Board of Supervisors without an approved Item of Business on the Meeting Agenda or modification thereof shall not be permitted at the podium at any time other than during the Citizens Comment period. No person shall address the Board during an official meeting from the audience unless recognized by the Chair. Comments from the public during the Citizens Comment period shall be limited to three minutes. 

The Chair at their discretion may provide a verbal advisory to a speaker at the podium when 30 seconds remain of the specified time to conclude comments.

Public Comment Period During Board of Supervisor Public Hearings 

At any official meeting of the Board where a public hearing is set on the Meeting Agenda, or a Public Hearing of the Board pursuant to Article 6.4 of the By-Laws, the Chair shall first permit general presentation and discussion of the matter of the public hearing from the Podium and/or from the Board Table. At the conclusion of such presentation/ discussion, the Chair shall Open the public hearing and invite those of the public attending the meeting to the Podium to comment for a period up to three minutes in time.

Topics Addressed

During public hearings, speakers may address the Board only on matters pertaining to or germane to the issue for which the public hearing is being held. No speaker is to engage in political statements, personal attacks upon members of the Board of Supervisors, county employees or officials, or any other person, nor are speakers entitled to use abusive language or discuss matters outside the issue for which the public hearing is being held. 

Violation of this rule shall enable the Chair by directive to take appropriate measures to rule the speaker out of order and to have the speaker removed from the meeting, if necessary, and take such other steps the Chair deems appropriate, including bringing appropriate charges against the person and bringing the charges in the name of the Board of Supervisors.

No Discourse

No discourse at a public hearing, whether during general presentation and discussion or during the open portion of the hearing is required to be entered into the minutes unless conducted at the podium.

Conclusion Regarding Public Comment Periods

Upon conclusion of speakers at the Podium, the Chair shall close the public hearing. A motion with second and majority vote of a quorum of Board members present at a public hearing shall overrule the Chair’s decision to close the public hearing or to limit the number speakers, in which event speakers may continue until the Board by majority vote ends the public hearing. A motion with second and majority vote of a quorum of Board members present shall also close the public hearing in this event.

Action of Record

An Action of Record may be taken at the close of a public hearing at the discretion of the Board. Supervisors’ Reports shall facilitate the presentation of comments, reports, and proposed Items of Business not otherwise part of the Meeting Agenda by individual Board members in round table fashion.

Supervisors Report

Matters may be presented for information, discussion, and action and/or scheduled for further consideration as an Item of Business at a future meeting of the Board. When speaking during Supervisors’ Reports, Board members shall be limited to 10 minutes, at which time the Chair may at their discretion suspend further presentation from the Board member and request action by consensus agreement of Board members present at the Board Table to permit additional time to conclude the presentation. 

No Board member shall yield time or place under Supervisors’ Reports to any other Board member or other person. No member of the Board shall have any other position reserved for them on the Meeting Agenda other than under Supervisors’ Reports.

Adopting Specific Rules & Procedures

The Board may at its discretion adopt specific rules and procedures relative to the conduct of certain types of public hearings other than those set forth in the By-Laws. Such specific rules and procedures shall be adopted in the manner prescribed for amendment of the By-Laws set forth in Article 13 and shall become part of the By-Laws upon adoption. 

Where a public hearing is conducted by another party on behalf of or before the Board, the rules and procedures governing that public hearing shall be as prescribed by the party conducting it.