The council members debate their positions on a policy at the City Council Chambers in Phoenix on October 31, 2013.

Keshia Corpuz

The public will have their comments heard live on television at the beginning of the formal council meetings from now on, thanks to a citizen petition that was passed unanimously by council members.

Public comments will now be heard by the Phoenix City Council starting 15 minutes before the formal meeting officially begins. Residents will also have their allotted time increased from two minutes to three.

While this was a request from the public to have their comments broadcast and heard at the beginning of the meeting, many expressed dissatisfaction with the end result. Those who spoke during the formal council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 5 said they feared if comments were delivered before the formal meeting began, there might not be a quorum to hear the comments.

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio said the comments were moved to the front so that those commenting on an item not on the agenda would not have to wait through the entire meeting. He suggested starting the comments early so that those showing up for a specific item would not be held up.

“When people come in for a specific issue in their neighborhood they want to make a statement and move on,” he said. “They don’t want to sit through a two- or three-hour meeting. It’s not fair to them and it wasn’t fair that the cameras were being turned off either.”

The comments will still be televised through Phoenix’s Channel 11.

DiCiccio said the process would be evaluated in 60 days to determine if it is working or needs adjustment.

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