City of Charlottesville

At their February 16, 2016 meeting, City Council adopted new meeting procedures intended to help ensure more efficient Council meetings while also expanding the opportunity to hear from a variety of citizens during public comment.  Many of the procedures remain the same as before. 

One of the changes is in regard to how citizens sign-up to speak in Matters by the Public at the beginning of each meeting. Beginning with the March 7, 2016 City Council Meeting, speakers for the FIRST public comment opportunity on the regular Council agenda will be asked to sign- up in advance of the meeting.

If you wish to sign up to speak, please fill out the Matters by the Public Request to Speak form on the City Website.  You may also contact Clerk of Council Paige Rice by phone 434-970-3113, by email, or in-person at the Clerk’s office on the 2nd floor of

City Hall, by 9:00 a.m. on the day of the meeting. To reserve a spot, you must give your name, address, and the topic about which you wish to speak.

Each request that comes in over email, phone, or in person is given a number.  All numbers are submitted to an online random number sequencer that generates 12 random numbers in the range of total sign-ups. (Example: 30 people sign up, and 12 random numbers are generated between 1 and 30.) 

The 12 sign-ups who are selected are given slots.  The remaining people who signed up are put on the wait-list in the order that they were received.

Both the list of 12 speakers and the wait-list are published on the City’s website by 12:00 noon on the day of Council meetings; including the time and date each request was received. Upon request, the Clerk notifies speakers of their status. In the event that fewer than 12 people sign up, the Clerk also takes in-person sign- ups beginning at 6:30 p.m. before the meeting.

Speakers may speak for a maximum of three minutes and shall begin by identifying their name and address. Speakers may only speak once during each public comment session.

If a speaker is not present when his or her name is called, he or she will not be allowed to speak. Speakers may not concede their allotted time; the person whose name is written on the speaker sheet must be the person who begins speaking, although they may be accompanied by others to the podium and may share their time with them.                                       

Matters by the Public at the end of the meeting does not require advanced sign-up; there is no limit on the number of speakers, and there is the same three minute time limit. For other public hearings, a sign-up sheet will be provided by the Clerk at the meeting.

Council adopted a few other procedural changes, including:

•    Publicly post Council’s governing procedures on the City’s website in a prominent location
•    Closer adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order in deliberations, including through formal motions and discussion periods
•    Incorporate most work sessions into the second Council meeting each month
•    Allot a maximum of 20 minutes for presentation and discussion of most agenda items
•    Limit most Councilor comments to 3 minutes, the same limit as comments by members of the public