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Waltham councilor wants speedier City Council meetings

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  November 13, 2013 04:25 PM

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A Waltham city councilor is hoping to streamline the process of the city's lengthy City Council meetings after several council discussions this year carried on into the early hours of the next day.

Waltham councilor-at-large Joseph Vizard presented a resolution at Tuesday's City Council meeting requesting that an ad hoc committee be created to study the 71 council rules and make recommendations on how to speed up future meetings.

Vizard said several meetings this year have gone past midnight, spurring him to present a resolution in August that would change the meeting start time from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m.

"It’s just that 8 p.m. is fairly late to start a meeting," he said. "We were bumping up against midnight fairly regularly."

The Committee of the Whole voted favorably for it, but the measure failed before the City Council in October, Vizard said.

"However, during the debate, some said that maybe there are things we can do to our rules so our meetings could move more efficiently," Vizard said.

If created, the ad hoc committee could look at certain agenda items that take up too much time, such as congratulatory resolutions, which could potentially be moved to a special meeting on its own to speed up gatherings focused on official council matters, Vizard said.

"We could also look at the rules around debate to see if we can speed up debate in the City Council," Vizard said.

However, it could be about a month or more before the committee is even created. The resolution will go the council's Committee of the Whole, where it will be debated and then referred back to the City Council. The next Committee of the Whole meeting is Monday at 8 p.m., Vizard said.

If the committee is created, Vizard said he hopes to be a member on the committee, although when final recommendations can be made is hard to say.

"There’s 71 rules, so it will take a while to review all of them," he said.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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