Public Participation Guidelines
Public Participation Guidelines
All citizens deserve the right to be heard. The Police Advisory Commission's intention is to establish fair and orderly rules that will enable the Commission to deliberate without interruption and allow ample opportunity for those citizens who want to participate and be heard. There are two distinct opportunities for community involvement: (1) The "Public Comment" portion of agenda items which occurs at the end of board business and prior to Adjournment [Article 5, Sec. H(7)] and (2) the "Community Forum " (Article 5, Sec. H(10)].
1. In compliance with the Sunshine Act, all Commission hearings are open to the public, except for very restricted executive sessions to discuss strictly delineated matters. The public can be in attendance but must be quiet and orderly during the Commission meeting. Any citizen deemed disruptive may be requested to leave. At the conclusion of the regularly scheduled agenda items, the Commission may open its public meetings to the public for comment and discussion. After Adjournment of board business, the Commission may conduct a "Community Meeting."
2. No citizen may speak more than once on a given subject unless everyone in attendance has had an opportunity to speak and be heard.
3. A citizen wishing to place a discussion item on the Commission's Agenda should contact the office of the Commission's Executive Director no later than one week prior to the meeting. Name, address, and topic will be required. Any written materials for the Commission's review should be delivered to the Commission no later than noon, Friday, before the scheduled meeting. The order of testimony of citizens will be established by the submission time of the request of the citizen to the Commission.
4. The Commission may waive the requirement of prior notice to the Executive Director who, in the opinion of the majority of the Commission, the presentation is directly related to the mission of the Commission and is in the interest of the health, safety and welfare of the Citizens of the City of Philadelphia, In the event the subject matter is new to the Commission, and if the Chair deems that the Commission may not be prepared to discuss the subject in a properly informed manner, the Chair can table the issue until further study.
5. Each citizen has a total of ten (10) minutes to speak on his/her item. The Commission may, in its discretion, may expand or contract the time to speak. The Commission may also allow or direct the submission of written testimony in lieu of or in conjunction with citizen comments or testimony. Obscene or abusive language will be ruled out of order by the Chair and the offending testimony may be terminated.
6. All statements must be directed to the Chair or the Chair's designee. Commission members shall not be questioned individually unless such permission is expressly granted by the Chair and only upon the consent of the subject Commissioner.
7. Concurrent discussion shall not be permitted by Commission members or the citizens.
8. In the event decorum or good order of the Commission meeting is obstructed or interfered with by attendees, the Chair may, at the Chair?s discretion, adjourn such meeting until such time as good order may be established.
9. All the above guidelines should be followed.
10. The time period for presentation is reduced to five (5) minutes.
11. Staff should set-up a sign-in sheet to include name, e-mail, and organization of any individual wishing to speak.
12. Staff should complete last minute details and maintain order in the room while the Commission conducts Agenda items. The staff should also maintain order and explain to community members if an executive session occurs.
13. Staff should take notes of all issues raised at the community meeting.
14. Staff should be visible on the floor to discourage concurrent discussions in the audience.
15. Commissioners should be arranged at a single table facing audience with name plates visible.
16. Commissioners arranging the community meeting, or Commissioners having a particular connection to the community involved, may act as facilitators of the community meeting.
17. The local police district's community relations officer should always be invited to participate.
18. Individuals scheduled to address the Commission should be given an order of appearance and those wishing to address the Commission thereafter should line up behind the microphone.
19. Index cards formatted as question cards should be circulated by the staff to anyone wishing to ask a question of the Commission but uncomfortable with speaking in public.
20. Organizations in attendance should be encouraged to link to the Commission website. And organizations doing so should inform the Commission so that we may link to their website as well.
21. Local elected leaders and community representatives should be invited to attend.
22. Everyone should be thanked for their appearance and input. Anyone supplying their email information should be thanked by the staff via email for their participation. Said e-mail contacts should be maintained as a date bank of contact.