It was a cold, icy winter evening with all council members on deck for Tuesday’s council meeting.  
Jan Grace was on hand, at the request of Council Member Dodds, to tell of the latest developments with the Sumner County Cowley College campus.  She said the college is offering tours of the campus and if anyone is interested, they should contact her to make arrangements.  Jan did point out that the campus is being secured with cameras linked to alarms that are connected to the police station, where they are monitored 24/7.  
Jan went on to mention that the trade building is going up with sponsors from different companies.  Sheet rocking is being done and they are starting on dropping the ceiling.  The trade building will have a soft opening in August, with the first classes starting that same month.  
For the Short Education Center, half of the basement concrete has already been poured.  An opening of May or June of next year is planned.  
A marketing push will begin March 15th for all of Sumner County, announcing the different programs and courses the campus will offer.  On March 5th, enrollment will start.  Interviewing for admissions representatives will start next week.  
Jan pointed out that the lamp posts in the parking lot for the campus will have different Sumner County cities’ names listed on them.  
Council Member Dodds said he was “looking for good things to come out of this.” Mayor Hansel agreed, saying that it was “exciting to see the development out there.”
Rick Sparman spoke before the council about his concerns that the current system of allowing people to speak “is broken.”  
Sparman told the council he thought they should use Robert’s Rules of Order for running meetings. He said taxpayers don’t have a voice and are not able to speak their opinions at meetings. “You are making a mockery of parliamentary procedures,” he said. “Now if I want to voice an opinion on any item, I can’t, and no one else can.”
He noted a previous meeting when changes to the trash collection system was discussed, and people were not allowed to speak.
He said people are required to sign up to speak several days ahead of time, and people may not know what issues are going to be talked about in time to sign up.
Roberts rules of orders is “organized and proven,” Sparman argues.  “You talk transparency.  The system is more translucent or opaque. Your duty is to listen to all of the tax payers.  We should not act like children, this is not a playground or showbiz, this is city government. I would have wanted to say what I would have liked to have at the last meeting.”
However, Mayor Hansel says “it was better for everyone then to cool down.  (not following Roberts’ rules) It gives the council time to research and come up with the best answers.  I do not know if anyone would have had anything productive to say at the last meeting due to the emotions involved.”
Sparman again claimed the system was “broken.  By the time a person finally is allowed to speak, it is water under the bridge.”
But, Council Member Hawley pointed out her contact information, as well as the other members, is published.  “I’ve never refused to speak to anyone anywhere.  We are open, I guarantee anyone of us will talk to anyone at any time.  This is our time to do our business. We are all available.”
After much debate, Mayor Hansel said she will re-examine Roberts’ Rules of Order.  
City Manager Shields, however, said the Kansas League of Municipalities recommends against adopting Robert’s Rules of Order because they were “too technical and too parliamentary.”
Council Member Etter said that even after the deadline people have been allowed to come in to speak before the council.  
As the debate grew more heated, Mayor Hansel remarked that, “We are up here to support the people; you can smirk or giggle all you want.  I am up here to serve all the people, regardless of your opinion.  We are here to act in a civil and professional manner.  We’re not here to be dramatic, not to act like children.”
In closing, the mayor wished the state-bound high school wrestlers “good luck” for their weekend tournament.  
In other matters, the council approved a contract with APAC Kansas for the paving project at Cowley College at a cost of $256,328. The funding for this was passed as part of a larger bond funding project that included other projects. This passed by a 5-1 vote with Jim Valentine voting no.
•By a 6-0 vote, the council continued to have the Chamber of Commerce and the Recreational Commission run the Memorial Auditorium. This is a renewal of an agreement that has been in place for two years. The council also approved the purchase of furnaces from Waldorf Riley Heating and Cooling for $16,400. These furnaces are compatible with air conditioning, and that is something the city hopes to accomplish down the road.


Roberts Rules of Order is the most widely used manual of parliamentary procedure in the United States.  It governs the meetings of a diverse range of organizations—including church groups, county commissions, homeowners associations, non-profit associations, professional societies, school boards, and trade unions—that have adopted it as their parliamentary authority.  
The manual was first published in 1876 by U.S. Army officer Henry Martyn Rober, who adopted the rules and practice of Congress to the needs of non-legislative societies.  Since then, ten editions have been published and revised over the years.
We attempted to contact other city governments to see if they were familiar with Roberts Rules of Order.  
The Caldwell Board of Commissioners uses it for their meetings.
Barry Fleming is a member of the Mulvane City Council and also is on the Sumner County Planning Commission.  Fleming says that the City of Mulvane uses “parts of it.”  He alludes to the size of the manual, saying it is “huge.”  He says “there is no real structure to it.  It is more of a guidelines to how Robert thought meetings should be done.”
From what Fleming believes Sparman wants, is that “there should be a clear block of time for citizens to make their input.  When can I talk?  When can I not?”
Wellington City Council Member Hawley agreed with City Manager Shields’ negative views on Robert’s Rules of Order, as established by the Kansas League of Municipalities.  
Christina Butler, speaking from the City Clerk’s Office in Wichita, said, “The City has not adopted Robert’s Rules of Order as its parliamentary rules, but instead has codified the following parliamentary procedure:  Because of the small number of members (seven) of the council, the usual procedures established by Roberts' Rules of Order and customary parliamentary procedure are not always applicable, such rules and procedures having been developed essentially for larger groups.”