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Long Beach scraps plan to rewrite code on meeting agendas

Long Beach Council President Anthony Eramo, second to

Long Beach Council President Anthony Eramo, second to the right, said concerns were raised about rewriting agenda requirements. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Long Beach City Council members scrapped plans Tuesday night to rewrite city code on the requirements for setting items on a meeting agenda.

Council members had proposed that approval of the city manager and corporation counsel or a three-member council majority would be needed to add an agenda item. 

The current city code allows a single member to add an item to the agenda, but city officials said that rule has never been followed. Instead, agendas now are normally set by the city manager or by the consensus of three council members, officials said.

“The city code currently allows any member of the council, the city manager or corporation counsel to add an item to the council agenda,” city spokesman Ryan McTiernan said.

An item on Tuesday's meeting agenda to set a public hearing for the code change was pulled.

“The proposed item, which was removed from today's calendar, would amend the code to reflect the current practice that has existed in the city for decades,” McTiernan said. 

Outgoing Acting City Manager Michael Tangney said he proposed the hearing after comparing policies from neighboring municipalities that required a consensus vote. The proposal was added for Tangney’s final meeting as acting city manager and would have set the hearing for the first meeting led by new Acting City Manager and Corporation Counsel Rob Agostisi, who takes the title Wednesday.

Long Beach City Council President Anthony Eramo said he heard concerns from residents and other council members Monday and pulled the item. He also said a public hearing did not have the support of at least three council members.

Councilwoman Anissa Moore said she was not aware of the proposed public hearing until the agenda was published Friday evening. Eramo said it is common for council members to learn of an agenda once it’s sent by the city manager.

“There’s a big difference… in changing and shifting the entire culture in terms of how we conduct business and share information,” Moore said. “We needed to have that conversation because it sent a poor message to anyone who happened to read that on Friday that we were going to some way decide three people would make a decision and some way silence different voices.” 

Councilmembers also removed an item rescheduling the next council meeting from Feb. 19 to Feb. 25.