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Monday, June 24, 2024

Local officials redesign City Hall visiting policies

A proposal to redefine the policies dictating what behaviors are accepted of visitors to the City-County Building aims to strike a balance between the humanitarian needs of the public and the workplace needs of city staff, according to Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8.

Mayor Paul Soglin introduced the proposal in a letter to Dane County Executive Director Joe Parisi Nov. 13. In the letter, Soglin called for placing a private security guard at the entrance of Madison’s City-County Building, located at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., during regular work hours and prohibiting loitering in the building.

However, Resnick said the city-county liaison committee rejected the idea of a security guard and revised the proposal at a meeting Nov. 25. The committee, composed of elected officials from Madison and Dane County, instead settled on using an “escalating model” to patrol the area, according to Resnick.

The model operates as a three-strikes system where first-time offenders would be informed their behavior is disruptive and will not be tolerated. A second offense would result in the individual being prohibited from entering the City-County Building for 24 hours, which Resnick said “would simply be ... a chance to refocus their energy and clear their head.” Thirdly, the individual would be permanently banned.

“I believe that focusing on the behavior is a start,” Resnick said. “Very often explaining to someone why they’re being removed from a particular situation does help.”

Dane County Facilities Management, which currently oversees procedures and policies at the City-County Building, would authorize staff members on site to implement the new rules.

Resnick added committee members are not concerned with forbidding loitering or sleeping on the steps of the City-County Building. Rather, they hope to prevent people from conducting themselves “in a manner that would be disruptive to the city agencies that work within the building.”

He said the “disruptive behaviors” the committee is focused on eliminating include consuming alcohol or being intoxicated in the City-County Building and threatening others.

The city-county liaison committee's revised proposal will go to the Homeless Issues Committee of Dane County for review before coming back for final approval by the liaison representatives.

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