Anyone who wishes to address the City Council during Public Communication is asked to sign in on the appropriate sheet in the lobby of the Council Chambers before the start of the meeting. The doors to the Council Chambers are usually opened 30 mintues before the start of the meeting. At the start of the meeting, the sign-in sheet is collected by City staff and given to the Mayor. Please note that the sign-in sheet is a public record, potentially eligible for release upon request.
Regular Time Scheduled for Public Testimony
Unless otherwise noticed, up to 30 minutes near the start of each weekly Council meeting is reserved for public comment on issues related to City business, except for items where the City Council has either held a Public Hearing in the prior 45 days or scheduled a public hearing to be held within 45 days, or quasi-judicial matters. Usually, comments are limited to three minutes per person.
At the end of 30 minutes, Public Communication is closed so that the Council may attend to the rest of its business. If more people sign up for Public Communication than can be accommodated in 30 minutes, the Council will continue Public Communication until the end of the meeting for those people who signed up by the start of the meeting and did not have a chance to speak in the initial 30 minutes of comment.
The City Council normally operates as a policy-making body. In its policy-making role, the Council routinely gathers information at public hearings, from informal conversations with citizens and others, from memoranda prepared by City staff, and from other sources. In a quasi-judicial proceeding, the Council is not adopting a new, citywide policy. Instead the Council, as a group, acts similar to a judge. They consider evidence for and against a proposal and issue a finding based on the record of evidence and testimony. State law and court rulings regarding appearance of fairness apply to quasi-judicial matters. It is the practice of the Olympia City Council to only accept testimony on quasi-judicial matters during a Public Hearing noticed in advance on the Council’s agenda for that specific purpose.
Council Meeting Management
The Mayor is the chair of Council meetings and is responsible for conduct of the meeting in keeping with Council guidelines, legal requirements, and accepted meeting management norms. According to the Council's guidelines, the Mayor is empowered to curtail or prohibit testimony that is overly repetitive or lengthy, beyond the reasonable scope of City business, or of a nature that would endanger the safety or wellbeing of the persons attending the meeting. The Mayor is also empowered to establish time constraints on testimony, if necessary, to prevent unreasonable delay in the Council meeting.
If you require special accommodations during your attendance at a City Council meeting, please phone the Council's secretary at 360-753-8244 at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting. For the hearing impaired, please contact us by dialing Washington State Relay Service at 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6384.