Sec. 613, Governmental interrelations - Pittsburgh Open Government Amendment

Open government = better government!

Sec. 613


The CAP is intended to work extensively with various governmental entities.

613.   Governmental interrelations with the Citizen Advisory Panel


Before bills go to Council, the public gets to understand what is being proposed.

a.       All legislative proposals, including substantive amendments, shall be presented and explained to the CAP or appropriate committee(s) of the CAP, with an opportunity for questions and answers, no later than the evening before its introduction to Council.


Through adequate meetings, the public can be informed without burdening or delaying the administration or Council.

      1.       The CAP may set a regular adjournment time of meetings held for such purpose. Council and the CAP shall cooperatively schedule sufficient meetings each week to adequately satisfy anticipated needs.  Where proposals are not presented and explained before adjournment, their introduction to Council shall be deferred and additional meetings shall be scheduled and held in the week before the next Council meeting to remove the backlog.


There are contingencies for emergencies and last minute amendments.

      2.       In the event of a real, present or imminent emergency where immediate action is required to avoid significant consequences, legislation may be introduced in Council without having been explained to the CAP by the evening before, provided the CAP board is notified and given an opportunity for the bill to be explained to a special CAP meeting before Council meets; if not possible due to the exigencies of the situation, the CAP officers shall be notified and a CAP representative or a delegation appointed be the CAP shall be allowed to ask questions and make comment upon the bill's introduction and during discussion of it in Council; the provisions herein shall also apply to any last minute amendments.


Abuses of emergency contingencies go to Common Pleas Court.

      3.       Abuse of the emergency provision for non-emergencies or failure to otherwise comply with the provisions of Sec. 613(a) shall be appealable to the Court of Common Pleas, which, upon a finding of such, shall enjoin or set aside any actions on the bill and otherwise require compliance.


The CAP can give reports and make comments to Council without being held to a time limit.

b.       As a regular feature of Council meetings, the CAP shall be given time as needed for its reports and comments to Council which may be made by an individual representative or a delegation from the CAP, and the CAP may choose for each meeting whether to be before or after the public comment segment except that upon request prior to the opening of the meeting, the CAP may give reports and make comments directed at specific legislation at the time the bill is taken up by Council on its agenda.


A CAP representative can participate in Council discussions and deliberations, but not vote.

c.       Except during closed executive sessions, a representative of the CAP shall be given voice but no vote when Council meets, sitting with Council or, during Council general meetings, at the table to the front and left of Council or in a comparably convenient location.   The person representing the CAP may change between or during a meeting as authorized by the CAP.


The CAP can request to give a presentation to Council before action is taken on its subject.

d.       The CAP shall be able to make organized presentations to Council and the administration which may involve one or more people and various presentation media.

      1.       The CAP may request and shall be given sufficient time, subject to availability, to make presentations during Council's regular, committee, or special meetings.

      2.       Council shall, upon the CAP's request, schedule post agenda meetings as needed to accommodate CAP presentations and/or discussion with Council. Scheduling of such post agenda meetings shall be within a reasonable time and at a germane location and Council shall not vote beforehand upon matters to which the requested presentation or discussion is relevant.

      3.       At the request of the CAP, the mayor and appropriate members of the administration shall be in attendance for CAP presentations and reports to the administration or jointly with Council and when such attendance is impossible shall mutually arrange with the CAP to expeditiously schedule the presentation which shall take place before administrative decisions and/or action on related matters may occur.


The CAP can propose bills to Council and have an opportunity to explain or defend its proposal.

e.       The CAP may propose legislation and introduce bills to Council and its representative or a delegation designated by the CAP shall be given opportunity to explain and respond to questions or concerns about its proposal or introduction when taken up by Council.   Council shall explain the reasons for its action on such to the CAP.


The CAP can have meetings with Council or the administration before an action is taken.

f.       The CAP shall be able to request presentations by, or meetings with, the administration or members of Council to explain or discuss issues of concern which may affect the City, its residents, and taxpayers.  The subject of the requested presentation or meeting shall be clearly defined.  The requested parties shall make a reasonable attempt to address the request in a reasonably scheduled time, which, if so requested by the CAP, shall be before actions upon matters to which the presentation or meeting is relevant.


The CAP can mandate meetings with the administration to discuss specific problems (this was in provisions for the Community Advisory Boards which Council dissolved).

g.       The CAP shall be able to mandate, by a majority vote of its board or of its members present at a general meeting, a meeting within two weeks with the appropriate head of an administrative unit of the City to discuss a specific problem.


Communication is a two way street Council can ask for a report on CAP activities, and ...

h.       Council may request from the CAP specific reports on CAP activities which shall be provided to Council within two weeks of the request or the next Council meeting thereafter if there is no meeting on the date two weeks after the request, or at a mutually scheduled time.


... Council or the administration can get the CAP's ear when it wants.

i.       Council, individual members of Council, the Mayor, or their designated representative(s) may request to address the CAP, its board, or specific committee(s) of the CAP at its next meeting, or a subsequent meeting if so requested, and shall be given time to make presentations and/or to discuss their concerns, except that if more time is needed than can be made available, the CAP body which is to be addressed shall schedule a mutually agreed upon special meeting for such purpose.


The CAP can be involved with other similar entities elsewhere; it can work with the City Schools; and it can give comment to regional, state, and federal agencies.

j.       The CAP may associate, coordinate, and function in conjunction with other similar bodies.  Associations within the city with membership provisions similar to the CAP's may be designated to participate in the CAP.  If the CAP establishes an education committee, then such committee may serve as a public involvement body with the City Schools, if such an arrangement is made with and approved by the school board.  The CAP shall have the ability to petition and submit comment in the CAP's name to all branches and agencies of all levels of government.


The CAP has a similar relationship with other City public entities for commenting or getting information, and they can approach the CAP.

k.       All City agencies, units of government, and entities operating City assets shall, in accepting public comment, allow for comment by the CAP without a time limit and shall make provision for presentations by the CAP either at a regular meeting, provided sufficient advance request has been made to place it on the agenda, or, if necessary, in a special meeting at a mutually agreed upon time.   A representative of the CAP shall be able to participate with voice but not vote in non-executive session meetings of such agencies, units, and entities, which shall also accept questions from the CAP outside of meetings and in a reasonable, timely manner answer them; and if requested shall make arrangements for their representative(s) to meet with the CAP or its applicable committee to discuss issues of concern which may affect the City, its residents, and taxpayers.   The CAP representative may be changed between and/or during meetings upon authorization from the CAP.   Upon request of the CAP, the above provided presentations, discussion, or answering of questions shall occur before actions are taken on the matters at issue.   Such agencies, units, and entities may request an opportunity to meet with or make a presentation to the CAP or appropriate committee(s) of the CAP, the arrangements for which shall be reasonably scheduled and mutually agreed.


Unnecessary delays and obstruction of anybody's duties are to be avoided.

l.       In such instance(s) where a party's compliance with Sec. 613 may result in deferral of official action(s) or unduly impede or add burdens as to obstruct the duties of any involved party, all parties shall make expeditious accommodation as necessary to both comply and avoid unreasonable delay or burden.


Mediation and/or arbitration of disputes are possible if mutually agreed.

m.       To facilitate quicker resolution of conflicts, avoid unresolved disputes, and reduce reliance upon the courts, the CAP and the City may negotiate and maintain a mutually agreed upon process for the resolution of conflicts and disputes, while reserving to all parties the rights and remedies provided by state and federal law.