Protocol at its Most Absurd

Is there a law that requires Gilbert staff members to address the Mayor and specific Council Members, by title, every time they answer a question during a presentation? Is it possible that Gilbert could lead the rest of Arizona in stamping out “the absurd”? At the 11/8/2010 Study Session, there was a presentation/discussion that lasted 15 minutes. During that time, the Mayor and various Council Members asked 11 questions. Each time, the staff member prefaced her answer with: “Mayor Lewis, Council Member Cooper"; "Mayor Lewis, Council Member Crozier"; "Mayor Lewis, Council Member Sentz"; etc, etc, etc., etc., etc., etc. etc., etc.

At the very least, it is tiresome. At its worst, it is claptrap.

What useful purpose does this convention serve? The Town Council is not the Imperial Court of Gilbert. The Mayor and the Council Members are not Royalty, they are Gilbert citizens representing us.

If the Council can vote to hide from the public, through Executive Sessions, information of vital importance to the taxpayers, such as bringing in SEIU, and discussions regarding the salaries, salary schedules, and compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits of employees of the Town, surely they can vote to dispense with this time-wasting, useless nonsense.

After you hear this about 60 times, you’re looking for some way to hang yourself. Maybe if the staff were made to just crawl up to the podium to address the Council, banging their heads on the floor, kowtowing, it would serve the same purpose but it wouldn’t be as time-consuming.

If you’ve ever been to a Council meeting, the following (slight exaggeration by Gilbert Watch) will sound familiar:

Mayor: What is your name again, and title?

“Mayor Lewis, my name is Joe Blow from Development Services.”

Vice Mayor Presmyk: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.
Council Member Abbott: Me either.
Council Member Crozier: (Sneezed)

Mayor Lewis, Vice Mayor Presmyk, Council members Abbott and Crozier: My name is Joe Blow from Development Services.

Mayor: Wonderful! Proceed with your presentation!

Joe: "Mayor Lewis, Council Members, thank you. Now here on the chart you will see how business friendly we are, because we now will be providing lots more services, so businesses don’t have to."

Mayor: Great idea.
Vice Mayor Presmyk: Forward thinking.
Council Member Abbott: Clean and vibrant.
Council Member Cooper: We’ll be greener than them, correct?
Council Member Sentz: Within budget?

Joe: "Mayor Lewis, Vice Mayor Presmyk, Council Members Cooper, Abbott, and Sentz, that is correct."

Mayor: Proceed.