Ensuring public participation during religious holidays

To ensure that City Council meetings are accessible to people observing major religious holidays I will be proposing the following rule at the December 7 City Council meeting. It’s not perfect–the decision of where to set lines about major holiday and significant portion of the population is inherently tricky–but I hope it will be a step forward in terms of setting clear expectations for how we set our calendar.

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RULE 3 ‐ Time and place of Council Meetings
Council shall establish a calendar of the time and place of regular meetings of Ann Arbor City Council by the third regular Council meeting after the general election.

Regular meetings of the Ann Arbor City Council shall be held on the first and third Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m., in the Council Chamber at City Hall, with exceptions as defined below:

  • When the first or third Monday is a major holiday, in which case the meeting shall be held the next secular day (Tuesday), or a later day that same week as set by Council.
  • When the first or third Monday precedes an election day, in which case it will be held on Thursday of that week.
  • When Council Chambers at City Hall are unavailable due to construction or other reasons, Council Meetings shall be re-located to another suitable location.
  • For the purpose of this rule, major holiday shall be defined as:
    • any civic holiday observed by the City of Ann Arbor, or
    • any major religious holiday observed by more than 2.5% of Ann Arbor residents (as reported on City-Data.com or other appropriate survey) and that precludes civic participation from adherents.