New Speaker Guidelines for WRBA Meetings

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This week, the WRBA adopted a Guest Speaker SOP – written guidelines as to how we handle the order of selection of speakers at the WRBA meetings.  We fully appreciate the time our representatives take to speak with us and by having written guidelines, there is less room for error – and less chance of the board accidentally offending any parties.

For this SOP, we have broken up the parties into the following groups which will also serve as a hierarchy:

(1) Elected Officials
(2) Officially Declared Candidates for Public Office
(3) Members of Recognized Organizations
(4) Private Citizens

And within Categories (1) and (2) we will have a secondary hierarchy:

(a) Federal
(b) State
(c) City
(d) Borough

Item 1. Any person belonging to one of the above categories can request the opportunity to speak beforehand, via email or telephone.  Also, at the sign-in desk, there will also be a separate Pad where people can sign in, asking for the opportunity to address our residents.  Once the meeting has begun, the list will be delivered to the person running the meeting.

Item 2. All speakers will be asked to limit their remarks to around 7 minutes.  We should discreetly keep track of the time and gently let them know when they have 1 minute left.  A soft chime would work well.

Item 3. After the speaker is finished, the Board Members should be given first chance to ask questions.  Then it should be opened to the residents.  The board members should always try to limit their questions to ensure that the residents get to speak.

Item 4. The Elected Officials are recognized and asked to speak first, in order of the hierarchy, as described in the note above.  Then, the Declared Candidates (in order of the hierarchy).  Members of Recognized Organizations, and then Private Citizens.

Item 5. Should any persons that fall within Group 1 or 2 show up late, and their turn has passed, they will be slotted into the very next available slot (i.e. they will speak next).

Item 6. Only persons from Groups 1, 2 and 3 — and invited guests — will address the residents from the front of the room.  Private citizens shall address the residents from the audience.

Addendum:

(a)  We shall build a small, tabletop lectern – similar to what the GWDC has.  We should make sure our organization’s banner is in front of the lectern – if anyone from the media takes a picture of one of our guests speaking, it should look as nice as possible, preferably with our logo in the shot.

(b)  We ask that our guests speak into the microphone.  Some speakers don’t realize it, but their voices don’t always carry.  If someone is hard to hear, the crowd in the back gets restless and they begin to chatter.  Also, as we tend to record the event for posting on the Internet, a strong audio helps carry their message.

Any feedback is, of course, greatly appreciated.

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