Free Essay: The Phoenix’s City Council Meeting, Arizona
I visited the Phoenix city council meeting which was held on October 2nd 2013 as part of my course requirement. The meeting fell on a Wednesday afternoon which is when the council holds formal meetings. The meeting seemed to move at a pace that was too fast for me but later, I learnt the council has received the agenda for the meeting on Friday before commencement of the meeting. The council members, upon receiving the agenda discussed the items during the weekend ensuring the items were not new to the members as they were for members of the public, especially I who was attending the meeting for the very first time.
Later, I learnt some of the agendas that were passed quickly were routine as such, they never needed much discussion. The meeting was held at the city council’s chambers known as 200 West Jefferson St. In the course of the meeting, the council enacted and rejected some of the formal actions, resolutions and ordinances (City of Phoenix Para 1-5).
During the council, the council was able to move from one item to another through preferred handling of the items and motion by giving each the required attention. In doing so, the order of items as listed on the agenda was not followed. The council, in this case started with procedural items that did not need public attention. However, once it came across items that did not need much attention, the mayor proposed a motion so they could deal with other items (Ross and Levine 110).
The method was productive since the council dealt with all the items on the agenda list. It dealt with land issues through adopting some zoning issues and approving development of some lands within the city another major issue discussed in the course of the meeting was licensing of liquor. In relation to this issue, business people within the city had applied for licenses and indicated their exact location so members of the public could scrutinize them. The council also permitted members of the public to make contributions towards the issue.
As such, from the discussions held, members of the public objected to some of the liquor licenses while approving others. The council for this reason approved liquor licenses since members of the public approved them and the ones that were rejected were moved to a later date to allow investigations to be carried out on the same. The council, generally recommended approval of liquor license that were approved by members of the public and they submitted them to the deputy city manager and the city clerk.
In relation to other social issues affecting people living in that neighborhood, the council called on members of the public to share their views. In doing so, it ensured before resolving on anything, members of the public shared their views regarding the issues. This helped towards ensuring members of the public were comfortable with decisions made by the council.
Relevance of Discussion
The motions made by the council appeared to be goal oriented and focused on what the council was aiming to achieve. In this regard, the council addressed the issues affecting people who lived in the city. It also sought the opinion of the public on asocial issues before they approved them and often incorporated the opinion of the public in its decisions. This is a demonstration to the public of the relevance of the formal meetings held by the council every Wednesday. Also, the meeting was open to members of the public who contribute to issues that were discussed which affect them in one manner or another.
In this instance, members of the pubic were able to express their willingness towards contributing to items on the list agenda by filling in comment cards and submitting them to the council before commencement of the meeting (City of Phoenix Para. 15-20). The mayor however, allowed members of the public to make contributions in the course of the meeting without having to fill the comment cards. This was in line with relevance of discussions held during the meeting.
Roles played by various people
The council meeting was presided by the mayor. He was able to move debate motions and invite anyone interested to make their contributions toward the motion. The administrative roles were played by the city manager. He was in charge of department heads present in the meeting. He was also able to respond to all questions on administration regarding issues raised in the meeting. Essentially, he also advised the council on what needed to be done on issues raised in the course of the meeting and responded to items the council needed professional advice on especially advice on legal matters. He also developed some proposals and led the council in project advocacy. The city manager, generally seemed to offer the council advice on the decisions made by the council regarding professional matters (Rose and Levine 109).
The City attorney also advised the council on legal issues affecting the council as such, the council sought his advice wherever necessary. Councils took part in the voting exercise on the motions proposed. They either rejected or passed the motions. Additionally, they contributed to issues affecting their districts by either opposing or supporting the items. The city clerk, on the other hand conducted a large section of the manual work in that meeting. He conducted a roll call and also ensured the councilors voted for the motions. He also carried out other minor duties as the mayor directed.
Lastly, members of the public played roles of either opposing or supporting the council’s resolutions. In particular, they were able to express their feelings towards the issues that were before the council. As such, they contributed towers sensitive issues like liquor licensing which they felt concerned them on one manner or another and their contributions also affected decisions made by the council
During the meeting, sitting arrangement was as highlighted in the appendix. The mayor was sitted at the front most table while the councilors and the vice mayor sat to the mayor’s right and left side. The mayor was positioned at the center where everyone could easily see him. The city manager and other city officials were sitted at a round table that was adjacent to the table used by the mayor.
In between the table of the mayor and the round table used by the city manager was a small table that accommodated 4 other officials of the city who recorded the proceedings of the meeting and the minutes. Members of the public were sitted facing the mayor’s table making it easy for them to walk to the podium at the roundtable in order to make their contribution. The sitting arrangement was convenient for all to see the person making contributions either from the table of the mayor or the podium.
The process of the meeting was organized and it addressed majority of the items affecting members of the public within their neighborhood on a day to day basis. The council also paid close attention to discussions and incorporated public opinion on decisions made. As such, each person played their rightful role in that meeting.
City of Phoenix. About city council meetings. Viewed on 17th October 2013 from http://phoenix.gov/citygovernment/meetings/councilmeetings/about/index.html
Ross, Bernard, and Levine Myron. Urban Politics: Cities and Suburbs in a Global Age. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 2012. Print.
M stands for mayor’s seat CO stands for city official
CC stands for city clerk’s seat C stands for councilor
VM stands for vice mayor’s seat CM stands for city manager’s seat