Flossmoor Board moves up public comments, adopts consent agenda in meeting restructuring

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Flossmoor Board moves up public comments, adopts consent agenda in meeting restructuring

June 27, 2021 - 20:12
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Flossmoor Village Board meetings made a shift toward greater expediency this week, adopting a consent agenda format that also sees citizens comments moved to the top of the list.

The change was made Monday, June 21, during a regular meeting of the village board. The consent agenda allows the board to vote on multiple items that Mayor Michelle Nelson described as “more routine in nature” with one vote.

“Some of you may notice that the agenda looks a little bit different tonight,” Nelson said. “We want to try something out — first of all to improve the efficiency and get to substantive discussions sooner.”

The restructuring also changes when public comments are taken, and residents will need to get there on time if they wish to comment on agenda items. In the past, the board made time for comments not related to the agenda up front, but agenda items were addressed at the time those items were presented on the floor. Now, immediately following non-agenda items, the public will have the opportunity to comment on agenda items. Nelson sees that as a plus.

“This is really done in the interest of streamlining,” she said. “Also, out of respect for our neighbors to be able to comment on things right away, rather than have to wait an hour, hour and a half.”

She said that also means the board will be fresher for the important discussions that need to take place any given evening. Trustee Perry Hoag said he thinks it is an “excellent idea” that “is going to work well,” but noted he had concerns about the “appearance” of being less responsive to residents.

“We have, on occasion, been criticized for just sitting up here and rubber stamping,” Hoag said. “I think this consent agenda has the possibility of looking even a little bit more like that.”

He said he worried about instances where 20-50 people might come out for an issue and not understand they need to get up and speak at the beginning or miss their opportunity to do so.

“I think that there has to be good communication, primarily from the mayor, that this is a new way to streamline this for efficiency purposes,” Hoag said. “It is a plus for streamlining it, but I think there could be a negative.”

Nelson said they will pull items off the consent agenda when the board decides they need further discussion. Any board member can request to do so when the consent agenda is presented at the meeting. The village board has — and continued with this first meeting featuring a consent agenda — published a packet including documentation and detailed reports on each agenda item. They tend to closely resemble the presentations given by department heads at the meeting, and include details on consent agenda items.

Other business

  • The village board voted unanimously as part of its consent agenda to approve the purchase of a 2021 Ford Expedition for $48,532 for the Flossmoor Fire Department. The vehicle is to be used by the assistant fire chief.
  • The village board voted unanimously as part of its consent agenda to approve employee  insurance renewals.