Members of the Upper Arlington City Council say their desire to run meetings as efficiently as possible should not be interpreted as an effort to restrict public participation.

Members of the Upper Arlington City Council say their desire to run meetings as efficiently as possible should not be interpreted as an effort to restrict public participation.

Council members Donald Leach, Linda Mauger and Erik Yassenoff have been reviewing council rules for possible revisions. A committee revisits the rules every two years with the departure and arrival of council members.

Earlier proposed revisions included the implementation of a three-minute time limit on speakers addressing council and early submission of electronic media to the city clerk so that the material can be scanned for viruses.

Another proposal was to reduce the number of council members needed to pass emergency legislation from six to five. During a previous meeting, Yassenoff had suggested that city officials review the practices of Hilliard and Gahanna and allow a three-fourths or two-thirds majority of council members to vote when one council member is absent and another has to abstain.

For some members of the public, the biggest issue regarding the proposed revisions is changing the number of hearings of legislation from three to two. In previous meetings, residents said they believed that the reduction of readings would have resulted in the lack of important information on issues involving rezonings on Reed and Tremont roads.

Resident Vicki Kerman showed council a picture of her nephew, who is stationed in the military in Germany, and her adopted son, who was born in southeast Siberia.

"These are the people to whom my obligations lie," said Kerman. "Ultimately, what we are doing is dishonoring my nephew, who is fighting for his country, and my son."

Kerman, referring to controversies involving the city's trash service and the resignation and ongoing investigation of former city engineer Doug Green, suggested that the council's priorities are misplaced.

"The last six months have been interesting for Upper Arlington," she said. "The rule changes are absurd considering the issues Upper Arlington is facing right now."

After Kerman spoke, Yassenoff suggested looking into an amendment to restrict readings of legislations to two meetings unless member of the public asks for a third.

"It's a unique, different approach and we can be more inclusive," Yassenoff said.

Council member Ed Seidel asked Kerman to return to the speaker's podium and give her opinion of the proposal.

"Why are we trying to change the rules," Kerman asked. "I see trying to change the rules as dancing around something that doesn't need a solution."

Council members have said one of the reasons to reduce the number of readings is the lack of public participation and comments on many issues.

After the meeting, Kerman reiterated her position that council needs to focus on more substantive issues.

"We have a city engineer who is under investigation by the Ohio Ethics Commission. We've got folks on Tremont Road who are battling for their property rights and we have a trash system where we were promised certain things that are not being delivered by the city," Kerman said.

"To be spending the amount of time and energy that they are doing on this particular issue is ridiculous," she said. "Their time would be best spent addressing some of the core, systemic radical issues that they need to be looking at to make Upper Arlington a better city."

Also at the meeting, resolutions of commendation and appreciation were given to the Upper Arlington High School Crew, middle school student Matthew Belz and the members of the city's Youth and Family Council.

Council's next reading of the proposed rules revisions is scheduled for July 7.