Council Meeting Guidelines for Speakers and Attendees

City Council conducts two types of meetings: informal work sessions and formal meetings.

Work Sessions

Discussions with staff and other invited persons or agencies. Public portions of work sessions are broadcast and streamed live, and available on YouTube. Public comment is not accepted. 

Formal Meetings

Public hearings, votes on items in the agenda, ceremonial matters and new business brought by the public. (More on meeting format) (PDF). Formal meetings are broadcast live and available on YouTube. Public comments will be accepted on specific agenda items and on new business.

Meeting Format

The Council Generally conducts meetings in the following order:

  1. Ceremonial Matters
  2. Public Hearings
  3. Consent Agenda
  4. Regular Agenda
  5. New Business

Matters are considered by the Council in the order listed on the agenda, but may be altered at any time without prior notice when Council considers it in the public interest to do so.  Matters on the Consent Agenda are routine and are adopted by one motion without separate discussion.  However, items can be removed from the Consent Agenda upon request.  Regular Agenda items are taken up one at a time.

Guidelines for Persons Attending or Wishing to Speak at Formal Council Meetings

The following ensures the public's business is conducted without disruption in a dignified, orderly and efficient fashion:

  • Register to speak on agenda items or new business by 3pm the day of the Council meeting by emailing or calling 757-664-4253.
  • Wait until you are called to come to the podium and speak
  • Give your name, address and viewpoint
  • Limit your comments to 3 minutes
  • If representing a group, ask members to briefly stand
  • Give written material to the City Clerk
  • The use of profane, vulgar, obscene or threatening speech is not permitted and can result in removal from the meeting
  • The aggregate amount of time devoted to a particular agenda item may be limited

Other rules of decorum include:

  • Signs, placards, posters or like material are not permitted in the City Council Chamber, adjoining areas or city offices
  • Remain seated during the meeting unless called upon to stand for recognition as a speaker, official duties, physical necessity, or to enter or leave the meeting
  • Turn off or deactivate the sound from all cell phones, pagers or other electronic communication devices

View the Council's Rules and Regulations (PDF)

Special Assistance

Persons needing special assistance, such as a handheld microphone or ASL interpreter, or any other accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act are asked to call the City Clerk's Office at 664-4253 at least three days before the meeting.

However, every reasonable effort will be made to respond to accommodation requests made immediately before a council meeting.