Speak at a Board Meeting

Click Here to See the Procedures for Speaking at a CIP, Budget or Tax Rate Hearing 

 

The Following Are the Procedures for Speaking at a Regular County Board Meeting:

The following are in accordance with the Meeting Procedures adopted by the County Board:

Step 1. Know Your Agenda Item Number.

You will need the agenda item number to complete a speaker slip (see Step 3) if you wish to present testimony.

Find your item number on the  County Board Meeting agenda posted:

Check carefully to determine whether your item will be heard at:

  • the Saturday regular meeting, or
  • at the pre-scheduled Tuesday recessed meeting.
Step 2. Determine Your Public Testimony Category.

Depending on your agenda item number, you will speak in one of three categories:

A. Public Comment Period

The purpose of this category is to alert the Board to items not on that day’s agenda, items already decided, or scheduled for future hearings.

  • Held at Saturday Regular Meetings at 8:30 a.m.
  • New business only!
  • To speak, submit a speaker slip  (see Step 3) to the Clerk
    • the day of the hearing, and
    • before the last speaker is called for this item.
  • You will have up to 2 minutes to speak.
  • Only one speaker per topic will be heard.

B. Consent Agenda

To testify on a Consent Agenda matter, you must submit a speaker slip to the Clerk at the Saturday Regular Meeting. This will automatically remove the item from the Consent Agenda and carry it over to the following Tuesday Recessed Meeting for public testimony.

  • To speak, submit a speaker slip (see Step 3) to the Clerk on Saturday, identifying all the Consent Agenda item number(s) you wish to address on one (1) slip.
  • No speakers will be heard on Saturday.
  • Consent Agenda items removed on Saturday, no earlier than 9 a.m.; hearing of items at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • Slips submitted on Saturday are held over to Tuesday (no need to resubmit).
  • Additional speakers may sign-up to testify on the previously removed items at the Tuesday recessed meeting by submitting a speaker slip by 6:30 p.m.
  • At the Tuesday meeting, individuals and organizations have up to 3 minutes to speak on all matters. (Example: if you sign-up to speak on 2 items, you are called one time to speak a maximum of 3 minutes on both items.)
  • Speakers are heard in a group before the Board begins discussing the removed Consent Agenda items.

C. Regular Hearings

Matters may be scheduled for hearing at the Saturday regular meeting or the pre-scheduled Tuesday recessed meeting.

  • Carefully check the agenda. Items are heard
    • no earlier than 9 a.m. on Saturday, and
    • no earlier than 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • Submit a speaker slip (see Step 3) to the Clerk before the first speaker on your item is called; no slips will be accepted after that time.
  • Individuals may speak for a maximum of 2 or 3 minutes per agenda item.
  • Representatives of civic organizations may speak for a maximum of 2, 3, or 5 minutes. (The 5 minute slot is reserved for civic organizations.)
  • The 2-minute speakers are called first; 3-minute speakers are called second; and, finally, 5-minute speakers. In each category, speakers will be called in the order in which slips are received.
Step 3. Complete a Speaker Slip.

Speakers slips are required for all public testimony categories (see Step 2).

Obtain a form as follows:

In advance of the meeting, download a speaker slip (.pdf):

Or, on the day of the hearing, obtain a slip at the Information Desk in the Board Room foyer.

General Tips for Speaking:

  • Speakers are called
    • by time period (2, 3, then 5 minutes)
    • in the order in which slips are received for the time period.
  • You must be present in the room when your name is called.
  • You may not donate your time to others.
  • The Clerk will call speaker names in sets of two.
    • If you are the second speaker called, please sit in the front of the room ready to speak next.
  • A speaker’s set-up time for use of equipment in the Board Room will be counted in their 2, 3, or 5 minute presentation.
    • Whenever possible, please arrange with the Clerk to set-up before the item is called to order.
  • Watch the timer on the podium for your start, sum-up, and stop times.
    • When the audible buzzer sounds, please end your comments.
  • The podium height is adjustable by pushing the up and down buttons on the top right-hand corner of the podium.
  • Oral testimony should not duplicate written statements.
  • Written materials should be handed directly to the Clerk.
    • When submitting materials, please provide 8 copies for the Board, staff, and the public record.
  • When lengthy public testimony is anticipated, groups are encouraged to organize to minimize repetitious testimony.
  • Individuals are also encouraged to associate themselves with the remarks of previous speakers where applicable.
  • See a full copy of the County Board Meeting Procedures or contact the Clerk’s Office via email or telephone at 703-228-3130 (TTY: 703-228-4611).