'New Rules': Mayor Wants More Decorum at Village Board Meetngs
Dave Heilmann wonders why village board members can't all get along.
Heilmann plans to introduce nine amendments to the Title I, Section 6-5, Rules and Order of the village code during Tuesday’s village board meeting.
“The purpose of this amendment is to get us back to proper conduct at board meetings,” the mayor said. “I do think residents would like us to act professionally and we owe them that. Hopefully this is a step toward that.”
Oak Lawn’s “Rules of Order” are based on Robert’s Rules, which date back to 1876 and are considered the gold standard to running meetings and conferences effectively and fairly.
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Heilmann wants remarks in debates confined to the merits of the motion and germane to the question or issue pending. He also wants village trustees to avoid personalities and using members’ names during debate.
Board members must address all remarks through the chair, in this case, the mayor. Trustees also may not address each other or ask questions of each other and limit remarks during debate to five minutes.
“We already have as part of our code that we will follow Robert’s Rules,” Heilmann said. “There is nothing to preclude us from adding specific items to our code on order and decorum.”
Not that he’s pointing fingers at any one, village board member: “We all need to do a better job at this,” Heilmann said.
Has the Oak Lawn Village Board reverted back to its combative ways?
“I certainly think there’s been too many times where there has been unnecessary fighting,” the mayor said. “I just think the focus has to be on moving forward on issues of importance to residents, not left or right at the board table.”
There are some board members who want to stop the fighting, the mayor explained.
“That’s what’s behind my push. You respect everyone,” he said. “Of course there is freedom of speech, but there are still rules of decorum. You don’t see this kind of fighting in most municipal boards.”
The Oak Lawn Village Board meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) at Village Hall, 9466 S. Raymond Ave. The meetings are free and open to the public.