New ordinance restricts behavior at Monticello meetings

MONTICELLO — An ordinance outlining audience conduct at city council meetings was approved this week.

The ordinance outlaws defamatory comments, disruptive noises such as clapping, and limits video cameras to one per person. In addition, cameras can no longer be pointed at the audience.

Mayor Chris Corrie said the ordinance was needed to correct what he called "an overall feeling of disrespect" at council meetings over the past year.

"The chatter, the laughter, clapping, disrespect, lighting, issues with cameras; we've had several people removed from meetings this year, and to me it's a most unpleasant part," said Corrie.

He added that "you are perfectly welcome to disrespect us personally, but you cannot disrespect the process or the meeting by which we conduct our business, and this ordinance definitely reflects that requirement."

Over the past year three audience spectators have been kicked out of council and committee sessions, and the mayor said something was needed in writing to give him guidance. Prior to passage of the ordinance, the council used Roberts Rules of Order as a general guide.

Some of the specifics include penalties for violations, which total at least $250 for a first conviction, $500 for a second and $750 for a third.

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