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Edmonds City Council to consider scaling back on public meeting minutes

‘Action-oriented’ vs. ‘detailed style’


The Edmonds City Council has utilized a “detailed style” of minutes for many years. That means just about everything that is said in weekly minutes is recorded and written in detail for the public to peruse.

The City of Edmonds wants to change that. A discussion will be held during City Council at a future date. 

Edmonds City Clerk Scott Passey and trainer and parliamentarian Ann Macfarlane have long encouraged the switch to an “action-oriented” style of minutes, according to the City.

Macfarlane’s most recent specific encouragement to councilmembers to make this switch was in the parliamentary procedure training provided to the council May 20, 2022 by Jurassic Parliament: “Guideline for Minute Meetings in Local Government.” 

Despite this encouragement to switch to action minutes, councilmembers and the public have resisted the change, comfortable with and preferring the detailed minutes always used, according to the City.

In late 2023, a fiscal emergency was called, and all departments have looked, and continue to look, for places the City can cut costs.

In response to a conversation with Council President Vivian Olson about this subject, Passey spoke to minute taker Jeannie Dines to see what the cost savings would be.

Dine said it would be a savings of half or more of the price the City has been paying to compile action minutes instead of detailed minutes.

Advantages, according to the City:
  • Action minutes are considered a best practice;
  • Action minutes are what the City’s minute taker is providing to other cities, and she said she welcomes the change;
  • The City is in the mode during this fiscal emergency of doing what it needs, versus doing what it likes best;
  • The City expects savings of $7,000 or more annually as a result of making this change;
  • The City can change back when it can afford to if the council and the public "never warm up to this change." (Quote marks added by the Beacon.)
Meeting minutes, City Council


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