Written by Jerry Riley
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 00:00
Public input is a very important, yet often misunderstood, part of public meetings. It is not a conversation, but a citizen’s opportunity to tell the meeting of a concern. Since specific topics in public input are not on the agenda, no action can be taken. Sometimes the citizen will be directed to the person or committee they should have talked with, but taking your concern to the proper meeting is an important step to have it addressed.
Everyone has to remember that just because you are aware of something, doesn’t mean everyone is. Elected or appointed employees need the input of citizens about situations they may not be aware of. If you know of a possible problem, and don’t tell someone who has the authority to address it, then you become part of the problem - and, what a revoltin’ development this is!
I’ve seen the faces of those in charge when people speak. Sometimes they act bored, but sometimes, they may become aware of a situation they were unaware of - and all the other spectators were now aware that they learned something. From the other side, some citizens use this opportunity just to malign actions of their employees, without offering any new information.
A couple of years ago one of the county board committees wanted to eliminate public input from their meetings because of people (often month after month) who took personal advantage of this time in violation of Board rules. The committee chair stated that it was not because the committee didn’t want to know people’s concerns, but because personal attacks were taking place and Agenda items were being addressed out of order.
Jerry Riley comments for the News Bulletin. He is a retired telecommunications supervisor.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 14:39