New council chambers

The Long Beach City Council meets Tuesday in the new Bob Foster Civic Chambers.

Long Beach City Council meetings are about to get shorter — or, at least, that’s what the panel’s members hope.

When the council convenes on Tuesday, Aug. 13, it will use, for the first time, new meeting rules the panel passed in May in an attempt to make the sessions run more efficiently.

Among the changes are:

• Encourage council members to ask staff questions prior to meetings;

• Set a scheduled time and time limits for ceremonial items;

• When large crowds are present for a particular item, move that item to the top of the agenda;

• Add items that require less discussion to the consent calendar more frequently (the consent calendar is a block of items the council votes on all at once);

• Adopt the consent calendar by 6:30 p.m.;

• Adhere to the posted agenda order as much as possible;

• Increase the use of City Council committees to hear public comment for large and controversial items;

• Cap council members’ comments at five minutes and require them to line back up after other members if they wish to speak beyond that point;

• Refocus the use of the supplemental agenda, which council members use to add items to an agenda late in the process, for items of urgency only;

• Continue closed session at the end of City Council meetings to allow open meetings to start on time.

Fourth District City Councilman Daryl Supernaw brought the changes to the council in the spring after noting that 12 meetings in 2018 lasted more than five hours. He said some meetings had dragged on so long that it made them less accessible to the public — meaning Long Beach was operating less transparently than it should, he said.

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