Concerns about how items are placed on the Waxahachie City Council agenda were raised at Monday night’s meeting.
Resident Gayla Smith told the council she is concerned that residents do not have the opportunity to be heard and are not given a chance to have items brought to the council for consideration.
“What I am proposing is to make a formal written procedure to have an item put on the agenda at any time for a citizen and for council members. It should apply to all people,” Smith said. “It should not be a fight to have something put on the agenda. If you want something to be put on the agenda, there should be a document in place.”
Smith stated she hopes the council takes the suggestion to create a formal process that the community can follow.
Chuck Beatty, a council member, stated the city has always maintained an open policy with anything on the agenda provided it is given to the city secretary, Lori Cartwright, three days before the meeting.
“We have never had any problem with anybody putting anything on the agenda,” Beatty said. “I don’t anticipate any changes. Anybody that wants to get on the agenda can get on the agenda.”
Councilmember Mary Lou Shipley stated she feels the placing items on the agenda has never been a problem.
“This council has worked together very cooperatively to try to stay focused on what is best for the City of Waxahachie,” Shipley said. “I have never had a problem with getting anything on the agenda and I don’t believe that anyone else has had."
However, councilmember Melissa Olson requested the item be reviewed at the next meeting.
“I don’t feel, being an elected official, that my constants are heard,” Olson said. “It would be a disservice to the community if I am not able to get items on the agenda. It is about giving people a voice.”
Mayor Kevin Strength told Olson this could be put on the next meeting’s agenda. Strength stated not having a policy makes it easier for items to be brought forward.
“If we don’t have a policy anybody on the council can put something on the agenda. The problem with making policy is that it precludes people from putting things on the agenda,” Strength said. “If the city were to set up a policy that it is just the mayor and the city manager then a lot of times other council members don’t get a voice. I think that what we have now is the best way.”
Strength stated if this needs to be addressed at the next meeting then he thinks it should and then moved on to the next issue.
Strength explained city staff and council members work with residents first to see if they can find a solution to their concern or problem they might have. If the issue or matter can’t be resolved, a council member has it placed on the agenda for discussion and possible action.
Mayor Pro Tem David Hill stated that he is more than willing to meet with anyone about concerns and work with them to find an answer.