ST. PETERSBURG -- In order to rein in her talkative colleagues, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Leslie Curran has reminded the group about a resolution passed in 1997.
At that time, the group agreed to limit their discussion on each item to a total of seven minutes per member. Each of the eight members is allotted two three-minute blocks and a one minute block to speak on every matter.
City clerks keep track of the time, but many council members have disregarded the limits in recent months. With dozens of citizens expected to pack City Hall for a budget hearing last week, Curran wanted to cut down on the talking
“They just needed a reminder,” Curran said Tuesday. “I think it will help control the flow.”
Recent meetings were getting out of hand with lengthy discussions, Curran said, adding: “We just need to conduct business in a better matter.”
When a council member exceeds the time limit, a city clerk “gongs” them by pressing a buzzer. The constant gonging typically doesn’t stop members from talking.
But when a citizen exceeds three minutes, the clerks also buzz them. When that happens, council members essentially cut the citizens off from the podium.
The reminder, Curran said, cut down on the longs talks. Still, clerks still buzzed several members throughout the nearly eight-hour meeting.
--Mark Puente, Times staff writer