Well my home office looks a lot better than it did three weeks ago. I am currently sitting in the councillors' office at city hall at the start of what should be a marathon council day. I don't begrudge the marathon. It was spectacular to have a three week fall break in formal council meetings. My home office benefited, but also I got out a lot into the community. I scheduled get togethers with old friends. I purposely stayed off this blog - just to recharge my blogging batteries a little.
Council days are always very interesting.
Senior city managers hold a 9am agenda review meeting to go over the council agendas for the day. Council members are invited to attend, and I try to get there whenever I can. The meeting offers an opportunity to ask clarifying but not substantive questions - meaning we can find out about processes and procedure. The questions and debate on the actual issues must come in the formal council meetings. Sometimes we get heads up on people who might appear at the public input sections of the council meeting. Council members can also give heads up to city staff about questions they will be asking at the council meeting, so that staff can prepare if need be.
Typically, but not always, we have an in camera meeting (i always thought it should be called 'out of camera') over a catered lunch. In camera meetings are closed meetings and we discuss and vote on labour, legal, and land matters. We often bring matters, once voted on and if no interests wil be harmed, into the public - the decisions and votes are announced at a public council meeting.
At 1:30pm, we meet for the regular official public meeting. You never know quite what will happen at a 1:30pm meeting. Issues that I think are relatively non controversial sometimes bubble over. The public has a lot of control with the public inquiries section - anybody can come and ask questions or make comments at about 1:30pm (sometimes a little later). You can see examples of council agendas here.
If the meeting goes to 4:30pm or so, and we have public hearing at 7pm, the city buys dinner.
When we have a public hearing, its held at 7pm, on a council day. Public hearings deal with changing land use zoning.