Fort Worth City Council’s 2024 meeting schedule is up for consideration Oct. 31.
Most months will include a day council meeting on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and an evening Tuesday meeting when council members will consider zoning changes. Council members will take the month of July off.
The newly proposed schedule also includes 16 opportunities for public comment — roughly every other Tuesday, the same number scheduled in 2023.
“Everybody has our phone numbers and emails, everytime they want to express any opinions or anything they can always contact us,” council member Michael Crain said at an Oct. 10 work session. “There are plenty of opportunities for the public to engage outside of public comment meetings.”
Six months in the year will include only one public comment meeting, because of city holidays, election night and scheduled conferences. This year, the month of October included zero public comment meetings after two were canceled because the council lacked a quorum.
When staff presented the new schedule, council member Chris Nettles asked the council to consider adding additional opportunities for public comment in months when only one such meeting is scheduled.
The city council used to include public comment at the end of its regularly scheduled council meetings.The city first added public comment meetings to the schedule in 2021 to give council members more time to improve efficiency and transparency, Parker previously told the Report.
The new schedule rankled frequent public commenters who argued the new schedule is less transparent. The conflict came to a head when two men, Bob Willoughby and Adrian Smith, were banned from in-person attendance of meetings. Willoughby is banned until January and Smith is prohibited from attending until February. The two men were banned after being removed from several public comment sessions and regularly scheduled council meetings.
“Personally I have spoken in person, in meetings with our most prolific public commenters … so if they want to come to one of those meetings that’s perfect,” Mayor Mattie Parker said.
Residents can also comment on specific agenda items at regular council meetings. Public comment meetings allow residents to address council members on any topic as long as it follows council’s rules of procedure.
Speakers can sign up to comment at all city council meetings at least two hours before the start of the meeting through the meeting’s agenda.
Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.