Plano City Council may change the way they discuss matters with residents. At the December 6 meeting, several members express interest in changing the comments of public interest section of council meetings. 

During Plano City Council’s preliminary open meeting, the conversation around the comments of public interest section was brought up. Several members proposed that public comments be altered to a set time, rather than during meetings. 

One proposed change was that a special meeting would be held before the regular meeting. From 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. residents could discuss any issues or concerns with the city council. Zoom would not be an option for these meetings and speakers must be present in the room. Residents of Plano would be the only ones allowed to speak during the meeting. 

“We’ve seen the comments of public interest used for all kinds of purposes that I would consider less than what the council needs to use to operate on so I think we do need to make adjustments,” Councilmember Rick Grady said during the discussion. “I would propose that the comments of public interest be moved to a separate meeting and that it not be televised.”

But not all councilmembers were on the same page with changes. Several members added that not everyone who speaks at meetings are resident of Plano, but could still be a stakeholder in Plano business. It was also discussed that taking away the option of Zoom would create less opportunity and accessibility for speakers to talk to council members. 

“If we have something that needs to be addressed, then we need to address each other face-to-face,” Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Maria Tu argued. “I think it is appropriate in certain instances, but it’s certainly not appropriate when we’re dealing with city of Plano business.”

There was no decision made during the December 6 meeting, but council members will continue to review the process for comments of public interest.