Council member Erickson says people won't want to speak to the council if there are too many rules and restrictions.

With the Crookston City Council approving a new code of conduct and ethics policy for themselves and other City officials, the League of Minnesota Cities has agreed to come to Crookston sometime in the fall to conduct some training related to the subject.

When the LMC is here, it’s likely that council members and Mayor Guy Martin will seek some advice on the current public comment procedure at council meetings. Earlier this month, Martin, after reading an article in the LMC’s magazine that offered city councils tips on how to best address public comments at council meetings, suggested that the council modify its current practice. The article suggested set time limits of a couple minutes per comment, a sign-in sheet at meetings, and that no council member directly engage citizens speaking during public forums at the start of meetings. Although it wasn’t in the LMC article, Martin also suggested that citizens fill out note cards beforehand detailing what they’re going to talk about it.

The council’s Ways & Means Committee this week revisited the mayor’s suggestions, and council members were hesitant to change anything right now, choosing instead to follow up with the LMC during their fall visit to Crookston.

“This is their chance, that’s who we work for,” Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson said. “If they have to write it on a card, people aren’t going to want to come to talk to the council. 

“I don’t think we want to tell the public you have a minute and you have to write it on a note card,” he continued.