Today, if an East Hampton community member or a town employee approaches the Town Council during one of its bi-monthly meetings with a proposal for a grant or an ordinance, then the council may approve that item during the meeting.
But this format may change soon.
Town Manager Michael Maniscalco said the council is looking into whether to establish a “Second Reading Policy,” which would automatically require the council to wait until its next regularly scheduled meeting before stamping its approval, or disapproval, on these types of requests.
“Often times people bring things forward to the Town Council that they want approval of that night,” Maniscalco said. “They bring a letter of recommendation for a grant, or maybe they have some type of property… and it’s not fair to the council members if they haven’t had time to look at it or read it.”
No policy exists on the books, although Maniscalco said that East Hampton isn’t alone in this respect. He noted that other communities in the state have municipal bodies that may hold off on certain approvals until the following meetings, but these are typically “gentlemen’s agreements” that aren’t mandated by town regulations.
“The idea is that council members would be able to ask any questions or direct staff in research before the next meeting,” he said.
The issue has already been discussed among the town council and the council members are already trying to informally operate this way. Maniscalco said a draft policy is expected to be brought forward at the next Town Council meeting on Sept. 11.
There would be an exception, however, for instances of “imminent nature,” the town manager said. As an example, if one of the town’s fire engines went down and East Hampton had to execute funding for a new truck, Maniscalco said the council could make a motent to waive the policy and vote on the purchase.
“It just makes a lot of sense for us to kind of formalize the process,” he said. “Everybody (in the council) is well aware and nobody has any question about it.”