Public Comment Decorum Policy

This policy is adapted from the City of Watertown Policy Regarding Council Meeting Public Comment Decorum.

In accordance with SDCL 1-25-1, the Watertown Regional Library Board of Trustees shall reserve at every regularly scheduled official City Council meeting a period for public comment.

The following rules apply to the public comment period:

  • The public comment period is reserved to discuss items not on the agenda.
  • Individuals wishing to speak must sign in prior to the scheduled start of the meeting.  Individuals attending online may be added to the list during the Public Comment period.   
  • No person shall address the Library Board of Trustees until the presiding officer has recognized and given him or her leave to speak.
  • Each person shall state their name and their city of residence for the record before making their comment. The speaker shall also state the topic they wish to discuss, and what, if any, action is desired for the Library Board of Trustees to take upon this subject. 
  • Whenever a group wishes to address the Library Board of Trustees on the same subject, the presiding officer may request that a spokesperson be chosen by the group.
  • Speakers must refrain from using: profanity; language likely to incite violence or outbursts from the audience; language that is disruptive to the orderly process of the meeting; engaging in conversations with individual trustees; making comments of a personal nature regarding others; shouting, yelling or screaming. 
  • Speakers must not continue to address the Library Board of Trustees once they have finished speaking. 
  • All demonstrations, including cheering, yelling, whistling, handclapping and foot stomping which disrupts, disturbs or otherwise impedes the orderly conduct of the meeting are prohibited. 
  • Each person speaking shall be limited to five (5) minutes. If more than one person speaks upon the same subject, the total time allowed for discussion on a single topic will be no longer than fifteen (15) minutes. The maximum time allowed for oral communication shall be thirty (30) minutes.  The presiding officer may extend or shorten the time for individual speakers or the maximum time for oral communications. 
  • Subject to the approval of the presiding officer, persons who did not sign in may be allowed to speak provided maximum time limits are not exceeded.

Responsibilities

  • The Library Board President shall act as presiding officer. The Library Board Vice-President shall act as presiding officer in the absence of the Library Board President.
  • Other than asking a question to clarify a statement, Trustees should refrain from entering into a dialogue with the speaker. 
  • The presiding officer is responsible for maintaining decorum and will not allow the speaker to make personal attacks or inflammatory comments. The presiding officer can ask the speaker to be quiet and sit down. If the individual does not comply with the presiding officer’s request, they may be asked to leave, or if necessary, be escorted from the meeting.  

Adopted: April 6, 2021