West Hollywood City Council meetings have a reputation for being endurance tests. The Council meetings which begin at 6:30 p.m. frequently don’t end until midnight or later.
While the Council has been dealing with huge agendas in recent months, part of the reason the meetings run so long is because the Council gives out awards and proclamations at the beginning of the meetings.
These presentations frequently take up 60 or 90 minutes of the meeting time between announcing the proclamations, posing for photos and giving recipients time to speak.
An item on Monday night’s council agenda would seek to limit those presentations. Mayor Jeff Prang and Councilmember John D’Amico are sponsoring the item which offers several alternatives including putting a cap on the number of presentations given per night, limiting acceptance speeches and making these presentations at the actual events themselves.
“It’s not that we don’t believe that recognitions are important; it’s an important part of who we are as a city that we acknowledge people,” Prang told Patch. “The problem is that a lot of the business that people are coming to the meeting for is being delayed by the presentations.”
As things stand currently, members of the public who wish to speak on a particular item often end up leaving before that item is heard because they have to get up for work the next morning. So, a benefit of limiting presentations is that it likely would foster more public participation.
“Jamming up the first hour to hour and a half of the meeting with presentations, I don’t think is a good way of encouraging public participation,” D’Amico told Patch. “If we were getting to the city’s business at 6:50 [after the required 20 minutes of public comment] instead of 8:15, it would work much better.”
Another reason for limiting presentations is that the Councilmembers themselves are tired by the end of the night too. All five Councilmembers work day jobs in addition to their city responsibilities.
“I’m not at my sharpest at 11 p.m.; I’ve been up since 6 a.m. and I’m not always able to give my best,” said Prang, noting that it’s not fair to the public, city staff or the city for the Council to be making major decisions so late at night.
“What we’re hoping to do is find a way to streamline the presentation process,” Prang said. “Find a balance between the presentations and the business we are there to do.”
Ironically, the Council was originally scheduled to discuss this item at its July 2 meeting, but postponed it due to a heavy agenda.
Monday night, the council faces another heavy agenda, but Prang says they will discuss limiting the presentations. However, given that there are several big items on the agenda ahead of this item, it could be 11 p.m. before they start talking about it.
The City Council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber in