Huntsville City Council considers moving public comments to end of meetings


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As the city of Huntsville grows, the city council is considering a change to the way they do business at bi-weekly meetings. The city of Huntsville is considering several changes to the current council by-laws, but one portion has gained attention, the changes to public comment.

“To look at how can we do business better and one of the things we have become aware of is there are a lot of folks who have become frustrated with the fact that the business of the city is not being, not a priority anymore,” says Huntsville City Council President Jennie Robinson.

Robinson says they are grouping all business items together, so public comments on agenda items will stay in their current place.

“Those folks who have specific agenda items they want to comment on will have the opportunity to speak before those agenda items,” says Robinson.

Non-agenda public comments will be moved to the end of the meeting. Chris Brown with the Citizens Coalition for Justice Reform disagrees with that change.

“In my opinion, it seems like an attempt to sort of quash what we have to say to the council and the mayor,” says Chris Brown.

The CCJR was formed last summer. Members have been outspoken at council meetings on issues relating to justice reform.

“We’ve addressed the police response to the protest, some police brutality instances that have happened over the past year,” says Brown.

Brown says with this change, public comments from many will automatically be moved to the end of the meeting.

“It seems directly aimed at trying to avoid hearing public comment on these topics,” says Brown.

But Robinson says this is part of a broader picture. The council is updating several portions of the bylaws in order to work more efficiently.

“In some cases, there are sections that haven’t been updated in decades, they are no longer relevant they don’t reflect the way we do business,” says Robinson.

This ordinance was presented at June 24 council meeting and is expected to be voted on at the July 8 meeting.

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