Email to the Editor

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With few exceptions, the most important part of any public meeting is the public comment segment. On any issue, County Commissioners have unlimited time to opine from their bully pulpit, but the public is limited to only 3 minutes per person, 15 minutes total. In practice, however, there is no time limit on public comments and the commissioners know this, so why the pretense?

The explanation is as disturbing as it is accurate: most elected officials would rather not have their decisions questioned on the public record. For the same reason, we often find that the official minutes of a public meeting fail to accurately reflect negative public comments.

If your representative tells you that his or her door is always open but doesn’t follow through on commitments made during one of those off the record conversations, chances are he or she just wanted to avoid a less than flattering moment from occurring in full (video recorded) public view.

But what happens during a pandemic situation when fewer eyes are focused on fewer commissioner meetings, no opportunity for in-person public comment and no citizen committee recommendations to contend with? Elected officials are only human: flawed, biased, distracted; ordinary citizens who came to their positions with grandiose ideas may find themselves feeling as if their effectiveness has been impeded by some restrictions around open public meeting law.

The truth is, I don’t know if the commissioners are operating in accordance with open public meeting law (though I did ask) and neither do you. What I do know is that after ten years of witnessing some very questionable tactics aimed at keeping the public in the dark, I no longer think the problem is limited to commissioner ethics, but the Commission form of county government.

Home Rule Charter- putting public trust back into local government. 


You can submit your "Email To The Editor" here..

https://www.ifiberonenewsradio.com/site/forms/online_services/oped/

 

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