One Simpsonville: Order and Decorum

First, let me be clear about my intent: I will not point fingers or assign blame, nor will I entertain comments or discussion that do so or that violate the Jenn4Ward3 social media guidelines. I do not think that’s productive. With that said, I believe that we as city leaders—all of us—are responsible for working together to restore order and decorum to Simpsonville City Council meetings. My intent here is to explain how we can make that happen and how you, as residents and business owners of Simpsonville, can help.

This is why at the very first Workshop meeting I proposed the idea of a resolution to adopt Council Rules of Procedure and Decorum. We worked on a draft. This first draft was reviewed by the city attorney, and we brought it to the business meeting. It still needed some work—additions, deletions, and some tweaking. Also, we determined that we should adopt an ordinance rather than a resolution. So I moved that we refer it back to Committee of the Whole; the motion was approved. Thus, over the next two weeks, councilmembers and staff will have the opportunity to further review the proposed ordinance, ask questions as needed, and provide their feedback on the contents and form. Then, we’ll discuss the Council Rules again at the next Workshop meeting on Tuesday, February 23. I hope that we will then be able to bring the ordinance to the next business meeting for a first reading and vote.

So what exactly is this ordinance? The purpose is to establish procedural rules and decorum guidelines to ensure consistent and fair treatment of citizens, staff, and fellow councilmembers; orderly and efficient public proceedings; and compliance with state and federal law.

Some will argue that Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (RONR) is sufficient to this end; however, I think our own meetings are evidence that’s not working for us. RONR is a 716 page book. That’s a lot of rules to remember and adhere by, and not all of them are relevant to or appropriate for our meetings. Further, in some cases, RONR offers a variety of options from which to choose, and some items covered by RONR are actually in conflict with regulations we must abide by, like the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Thus, it will be beneficial to adopt rules based on RONR but that are specific to our own needs. Many councils do this, and even our own Planning Commission has done it. It’s time for the Council to do it as well.

Naturally, we are going to experience growing pains as we adopt such rules, and I would ask you support us as we do that.

This ordinance is the first step in getting us to where we need to be and to working together for the benefit of One Simpsonville, where we are all proud to live, work, and play.