Speakers Guide

Portsmouth City Council Meetings

We hope to benefit from your participation, and ask that you please familiarize yourself with the established procedures for City Council meetings.

The Order of Business

The order is outlined specifically on the City Council Agenda. In general, Regular Council Meetings are conducted as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Presentations
  3. Public Hearing
  4. Consent Agenda
  5. Other Unfinished Business
  6. Reports and recommendations from the City Manager
  7. New Business (Includes Board/Commission Appointments)
  8. Items Submitted by Council Members
  9. Report on Pending Items
  10. Non-Agenda Speakers
  11. Adjournment

Agenda Items

Agenda items are taken up one at a time in the order in which they are listed. Consent Agenda items previously approved on first reading unanimously by City Council are enacted by one motion with no separate discussion of the items. An item may be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered separately upon the request of any Council Member. The agenda is for the convenience of the public and the Council, and may be amended by the Council whenever necessary under the terms of established procedures.

Citizens Are Invited to Participate

Citizens are invited to participate and may address City Council by simply filling out a registration card and present it to the Deputy City Clerk prior to the deadline listed on the meeting’s agenda. Any speaker may be allowed up to five (5) minutes for the purpose of presenting his views; he may not transfer his time to any other person to speak on his behalf. Speakers must choose whether to speak on Agenda item(s) or as a non-agenda speaker.

Group Spokesperson

It is possible that one speaker may be a spokesperson for a group, and may acknowledge others sharing his position by asking them to stand. This display of support may be more effective when time is limited than repetition of opinions by several speakers sharing the same viewpoint. Any exhibits, documents, or letters signed by citizens to be submitted to Council relative to business before Council, should be submitted to the Sergeant at Arms following the address to Council.

Step to Podium

Meetings of the Council are formal proceedings, and all comments are recorded on tape. To maintain decorum, you are requested not to speak from your seat or out of turn. When you are called to speak, please follow these steps:

  1. Come forward to the speaker’s podium;
  2. State your name;
  3. State your position and give facts and other data to back it up; and
  4. If you have a written statement, give it and other supportive materials to the Sergeant at Arms for the record.

We urge citizens to help City Council preserve the decorum in order to conduct the meeting in an efficient and responsible manner.

Note: Per Section V of City Council Rules and Procedure, applause shall be permitted only during awards and presentations. During all other agenda items, a speaker may request an expression of consensus, support, or opposition by calling for a show of hands or for members of the audience to silently stand.

We thank you for your participation and courtesy, and invite you to return.