After two years of operating under a set of council bylaws first established by a then-Republican Bloomingdale Council majority, members unanimously adopted new 2013 bylaws Tuesday that discontinued two controversial rules.
The first was a bylaw that limited public comment to five minutes per person. Bloomingdale Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy called the limitation "offensive" before council members voted in May 2011 to adopt it. Coinciding was a bylaw which restricted the number of times a member of the public could approach the podium to speak.
"We are here for the public. They should be able to say what they want, when they want, however many times they want-that's who we represent. And stifling them and not engaging is just outright ludicrous, rude and insulting to the people who put you here," Dunleavy said before the ordinance moving the bylaws forward was adopted.
One resident said she was "disappointed" that the council would make a decision that would limit the public's opportunity to speak for as long as they would like, while another resident said she thought the amended bylaws would help restore decorum to council meetings.
Another bylaw which was reversed Tuesday was one that stated that members of the public should not directly engage with council members but only address the chairperson. Under the new bylaws, Dunleavy said members of the public should still direct their question to the chairperson, or mayor, but that a conversation could ensue between a member of the public and member of the governing body.
"I'm looking forward to our structure the new way," Dunleavy said Tuesday.