How to Address the Board of Supervisors
- Control of Meeting
- Public Comment
- Public Hearings
- Order & Decorum
- Informational Correspondence
Control of Meeting
The Board Chair shall first caution any person at the meeting who is abusive, disruptive, or out of order, and then ask that person to leave if the person will not stop; additionally, the Chair reserves the right to recess the meeting until the person leaves or is escorted out and order is restored.
Matters on the Agenda
The Board shall allow public comment on items appearing on the agenda during the time the agenda item is considered by the Board. The Chair may limit the total amount of time for comment on any agenda item to no less than 3 minutes for each individual. Comments by the public must be relevant to the item on the agenda being considered by the Board.
Matters Not on the Agenda
At regular meetings of the Board, members of the public shall be allowed to address the Board of Supervisors on matters not appearing on the agenda which are of interest to the public and which are within the subject matter jurisdiction the Board. Pursuant to the Ralph M. Brown Act, the Board shall not take any action or discuss any matter not appearing on the agenda; although staff may be asked to briefly respond to or follow up on such items.
The Board will allocate at least 15 minutes for receiving public comment during any Board meeting. The chairperson of the Board may limit any individual desiring to address the Board to no more than 3 minutes. Time to address the Board will be allocated on the basis of the order in which the requests were received.
At special meetings of the Board, there will not be a scheduled public comment period allocated for items not on the agenda. Public comment will only be allowed on matters appearing on the agenda at the time they are discussed by the Board.
Public HearingsAll members of the public shall be allowed to address the Board as to any item which is noticed on the Board's agenda as a public hearing. The Board may limit any person's input to not less than 3 minutes. Any person may provide the Board with a written statement in lieu of or in supplement to any oral statement made during a public hearing. Written statements shall be submitted to the Clerk of the Board.
Subsequent HearingsWhenever a public hearing is conducted, the public hearing is closed, and the matter is continued to a subsequent meeting for Board deliberation and/or action, the Board shall not allow public comment and/or testimony on that item at the subsequent hearing. However, at the initial public hearing, prior to taking action, the Board may, at its sole discretion, elect to continue the matter and to reopen the public hearing. At the subsequent hearing, all information will be considered.
Specific InformationThe Board may also, at the initial public hearing, prior to taking action, announce that the public hearing is being continued for specific information and the public testimony will only be heard on new information specific to the Board's direction. After the public hearing is closed, if the Board later decides to reopen the public hearing for public testimony, appropriate notices must be published.
Order & Decorum
Individuals or organizations desiring to address the Board shall:
- Speakers shall address the board from the designated podium, virtual kiosk, or other designated location, including teleconferencing system(s). Speakers are encouraged but not required to give their name and location of residence before addressing the board. This is to assist the board with identifying which supervisorial district the speaker resides in.
- Speakers shall direct their comments to the board, through the chair, and not to the audience or staff.
- Speakers may comment on specific matters before the board with reasons for the position taken.
- The chair may, at their discretion, increase the allotted time for any given speaker, but shall not be required to do so.
- A speaker may not yield time to another speaker.
- No individual may speak more than once during public comment or on an item on the agenda unless recognized by the chair as having new information.
- In the interest of civil discourse, the rules as specified in this Order and Decorum of Board Business and Robert’s Rules of Order, to the extent such rules are not in conflict with the Brown Act, shall apply at all board meetings. It shall be the responsibility of the chair to ensure that public comment is conducted in such a manner in order to avoid disruptive activity, promote mutual respect, keep comments focused on the subject being discussed, avoid personal attacks, prohibit hate speech and the threat of violence.
- At the start of each meeting, the chair shall remind the public of the rules and expectations of the public including distinguishing the process for a) public comment for items on the consent agenda; b) general public comment for items not listed on the agenda; and c) public comment for items on the agenda.
- Applicants, applicant representatives, and appellants desiring to speak shall be permitted to speak first during the public comment portion of a public hearing for not more than 10 minutes or 15 minutes at appeal hearings unless different rules for conducting the hearing are provided by county code or other applicable law. Time limits may be modified at the chair of the board’s discretion.
- At special meetings of the Board, public comment will only be allowed on matters appearing on the agenda.
By statute, an ordinance may be passed immediately upon introduction only after notice and a public hearing. An urgency ordinance may be passed immediately upon introduction.
Ordinances shall not be passed within five days of their introduction, or at anything other than a regular meeting or at an adjourned regular meeting, unless authorized by statute as previously indicated . The Board of Supervisors will address ordinances at first readings. The public is urged to address ordinances at first readings, as passage of ordinances will be held at second readings after reading the title.
Adoption of the ordinance is made by majority vote. The Board reserves the right to amend any proposed ordinances and to hold a first reading in lieu of a second reading. (Gov. Code Section 25131, et seq.)