The City Council voted unanimously to allow members of the public to use PowerPoint presentations during the public comment segment of future meetings. Residents would have to submit the PowerPoint files to staff by noon the Friday prior to the meetings.
City staff originally recommended that the public be required to submit PowerPoint presentations 10 days prior to council meetings, according to a staff report by Acting Assistant City Manager Sean Crumby.
However, some residents objected to the 10-day requirement during the public comment segment of the council meeting. Bridgeport area resident Robert Goldberg, for example, said members of the public often couldn’t get the information until Friday. He said agenda packages can be 500 pages long.
He said it wouldn’t be possible to get through an entire package in one day, much less prepare a PowerPoint presentation.
District 3 Councilman Gordon Shanks said the public comments were valid. He said the 10-day advance submission requirement was ridiculous since the staff reports to the council are available six days before a meeting.
Shanks proposed removing the advance submission requirement.
District 1 Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said the city attorney had asked for advance review.
City Attorney Quinn Barrow said the issue was how much time the staff needed to get information into the PowerPoint presentations. Barrow said there was no obligation under the Brown Act (California’s public meeting law) to allow the use of PowerPoint presentations. Shanks proposed a 9 a.m., Monday deadline for submissions.
Deaton said she had a problem with Monday because that is the busiest day for city staff. She said she would just as well prefer not to have a review.
Deaton suggested moving the deadline to the Friday prior to a council meeting.
Barrow recommended limiting Power Points to “oral communications,” the public comment segment of council meetings.