'Consent Agenda' Procedure To Debut At Next Selectboard Meeting

Norwich Selectboard Meeting 9/12/18. Source: CATV screenshot

The Selectboard will debut a new procedure -- the consent agenda -- at its meeting on Wednesday, September 26.

As explained in Wikipedia:

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Many deliberative assemblies (e.g. city councils) use a procedure known as the "consent agenda." Matters believed to be noncontroversial are placed on the consent agenda, and they are all adopted by a single motion. If any member object to one or more items on the consent agenda, the items objected to are removed from the consent agenda and handled in the ordinary course.
The concept was raised by Town Manager Herb Durfee at the August 8 Selectboard meeting, as a way to make Selectboard meetings more time efficient. At its September 12 meeting, the Selectboard agreed to use the procedure for future meetings with respect to meeting minutes, correspondence, and accounts payable.

Any Selectboard member can remove an item from the consent agenda so that it can be considered during the regular part of the meeting. The August 8 Selectboard packet materials explain: 

Here’s how a typical consent agenda is handled: The chair places the consent agenda before the assembly and asks, “Does anyone wish to remove any item from the consent agenda?” Since any member who doesn’t trust the process can easily remove any or all of the items, it is important (at least at first) that the items not be confrontational or controversial. Similarly, if any member wants a separate vote on any item, or simply wants to discuss an item, that item must be removed from the consent agenda. It’s all or nothing. (For that reason, when minutes are to be placed on a consent agenda, it’s a good idea to provide the draft minutes well in advance of the meeting; that way, you can include the corrected version on the consent agenda.)

It helps to have each item numbered, so that a member can simply call out “Number 3,” or whatever number they want to remove. In such a case, the chair responds: “Number 3 is removed.” (At that time, the decision should be made whether to take up the issue immediately after the consent agenda is adopted, or to place it under its “regular” category heading for that meeting.)

The chair then asks, “Are there any other items to be removed?” If there are none, the chair states: “Items numbered (listing remaining item numbers) are before you. If there is no objection, these items will be adopted.” (Pause, to see if there is an objection.) “There being no objection, these items are adopted.” 

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POSTED: 09.21.2018  

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