Council meetings keep time limit

DESPITE not finishing inside the 3½-hour time limit for their past three meetings, the majority of Liverpool councillors voted against a motion to extend the length of the sessions.

At the last regular meeting, held on November 27, councillors were provided a 1500-page agenda which had to be completed before the meeting cut-off time of 9.30pm.

Councillors got through only a fraction of their business, so an extraordinary meeting was held on Monday, December 2.

Councillor Tony Hadchiti (Liberal) put a motion to change of the code of meeting practice to extend the length of the meeting by one hour.

"If we want to grow the city and have an active council, we need to be able to get through our agendas without holding an extra meeting," Cr Hadchiti said.

Cr Peter Ristevski suggested that a way of shortening the meeting could be to ask for two speakers to speak for a motion and two against, but Cr Hadchiti said he would prefer not to have to stop any councillor from addressing the council.

Cr Peter Harle, of the Liverpool Community Independents Team, moved that there should be the option for councillors to extend the meetings by two half-hour blocks — one at a time — if the need arose.

Cr Anne Stanley, of Labor, said she was happy with the current length of the meetings, but they could be more efficient.

"All the chopping and changing; where we're going from one part of the agenda to another makes it go a lot longer and makes it more difficult for the community to keep track," Cr Stanley said.

"We shouldn't limit the number of speakers though, that would limit our democracy.

"I tend not to speak when my point has already been covered by someone else; I don't believe in talking just to hear my own voice, but not all of the other councillors share my opinion."

Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun said the change in policy was introduced to look after the safety of the staff as some live more than an hour-and-a-half away.

"Also, most councillors work and start their day about 9am, so working through to 11.30pm and trying to make the right decision at that time isn't the best idea," Cr Mannoun said.

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