The Leesburg Town Council has followed through on its promise to alter its proclamation process, voting on changes at its recent meeting.
The council last week unanimously adopted a series of changes following early summer controversy when three proclamations for community groups contained statements written by, or written on behalf of, Councilman Tom Dunn that some viewed as offensive. Dunn has criticized the council for putting forward too many politically-motivated proclamations and has also questioned the volume of proclamations being given out compared with past years.
Among the changes adopted is a new requirement that only signatures may be written on council member signature lines and no other council member may sign on behalf of another. Each proclamation must be sponsored by a council member. The council will vote on all proclamations to be given out at the prior business meeting, giving council members ample opportunity to inform staff whether they wish their signature line to be on the proclamation.
One change that the council did not adopt was scheduling proclamation presentations for a half hour prior to the start of the 7 p.m. bimonthly business meeting instead of during the meetings. Mayor Kelly Burk said she felt that having the proclamations presented before the start of a business meeting diminishes their value and could lead to lengthy gaps between the proclamation presentations and the start of the meeting. But Councilman Ron Campbell countered that such time would give council members the opportunity to mingle with members of the community who were present.
Burk, Vice Mayor Marty Martinez and council members Josh Thiel and Neil Steinberg supported an amendment to keep proclamations within the 7 p.m. business meeting.