During the City Commission Meeting on December 13th, Mayor John Dailey addressed the out-of-control comments being made from the unagendaed speakers and informed the Commission he would be “tightening up the ship” in regards to how the Commission handles the agenda. He noted he walked away from the previous meeting “quite disturbed” and said he would no longer deal with personal attacks and accusations coming from the speakers at the meetings.
Dailey explained that going forward, speakers would address him only stating, “I’m going to have all comments be directed toward the Mayor, not individually (like we do at Blueprint), and we’re not going to deal with personal attacks, we’re not going to deal with accusations.” He went on to explain that speakers who ignore these new rules will be called out-of-order.
During the beginning of the meeting, Dailey asked his colleagues for ideas on how the Commission might move forward in addressing unagendaed speakers. Dailey suggested limiting unagendaed speakers to 30 minutes of the meeting. However, Commissioners Jeremey Matlow, Jack Porter and Curtis Richardson expressed concern for a time limit that short.
Commissioner Matlow stated, “It’s difficult to sit at any meeting and have elevated tones lodged at you for hours.” However, he listed several concerns he had with a time limit of 30 minutes, such as blocking residents who come to the meetings to speak about important local issues. Lastly, Matlow noted that if a time limit were to be enforced it should be closer to 1.5 hours instead.
Commissioner Richardson noted he disagrees with a time limit of 30 minutes “for many of the same reasons that Commission Matlow mentioned.” He instead suggested limiting the amount of people who speak per-topic. He stated, “We don’t necessarily need to hear from thirty people on one item and everybody is saying the same thing.”
Mayor Dailey announced that speakers would have their time at the end of the meeting and reemphasized that speakers would have to be respectful.
During the unagendaed portion of the meeting, firefighters from the Tallahassee Fire Departments labor union asked the Commission for better paying salaries.
Following the firefighters, many activists criticized the Commission for not standing with Palestinians. “If it was your children buried under rubble,” one speaker began to say. However, he was swiftly cut off by Curtis Richardson who said “Sir, do not refer to my children.”
Dailey said he would not put up with comments about the Commissioners’ families and children as they had the previous meeting. To which the speaker stated “But it’s okay when it’s Palestinian children.” Dailey then adjourned the meeting.