Assembly Modifies ‘Robert’s Rules’ For Borough Meetings

At Thursday’s regular meeting, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly took five minutes out of the four-hour-long meeting and performed some housekeeping on the portion of the borough code dealing with their own procedures.

The assembly voted to allow the postponing of “action items,” that is, things on the agenda that need to be voted on – for farther into the future than just the next meeting. Seems like a small thing, but the assembly does operate under Roberts Rules of Order, which does not allow such a long postponement.

One assemblyman questioned Borough Clerk Nova Javier about the need for the change.

“What possible negative thing could this be?,” asked Assemblyman Dennis Symmons. “I mean what impact could it have by leaving it the way it is? Is it just based upon this particular assembly’s typical behavior? Or is it just a general rule of thumb that we’re changing? Does that question make sense?”

“The current Roberts Rules states that you cannot postpone an item beyond the next regular meeting. And we just found that out at our training in Anchorage in November,” Javier said. “So I drafted this ordinance that will provide flexibility for the assembly to extend items that need research beyond the next regular meeting. I hope that answers your question.”

One member of the public testified during the public hearing, and said the ordinance is definitely needed.

“I actually think this is a good idea, as evidence by the backwards and forwards on the building code and several other things that have come up over the last couple of years,” said Judi Kidder. “Sometimes things are just not ready. And I think this is a good rule. I don’t think it would be abused. It would be an exceptional circumstance to use it but I do feel it has a place to send stuff back there that is not ready to go forward with.”

The ordinance passed 6-0 with Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner absent.

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