Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Tale of Two Hunt County Cities

Both cities had citizens with signs out front of City Hall prior to a City Council meeting within the past week.

A representative from one group was allowed to approach their City Council during the public presentation portion of their meeting. 


(Tongue in Cheek) Believe it or not, both cities are in the United States of America.

Story in Herald Banner showing how at least the City Council of Greenville cares enough about its citizens to allow them to speak. Story in Commerce Journal showing to me that the City Council of Commerce seems to care only about itself.

Photos from Herald Banner Website (Brad Keller) and No Kill Hunt County Facebook page.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

At City Hall: Long Live the Spin Doctor

This blog is in response to the the City of Commerce's press release regarding presentations made at city council meetings.

MY OPINION: the press release is BS

Does the City have a policy and procedure for public comment? Yes it does. Read the agenda. The period from as close to 6:05 to 6:20 is "RESERVED" for citizens to discuss items not listed on the agenda.

Definition of reserved: "kept specially for a particular purpose"

So by their posted agenda, no other city business should be conducted during that time, other than to receive presentations from citizens for items that are not on the agenda.

Common sense would have indicated that with a standing room only crowd, there is probably at least one person in the audience that wishes to make a presentation to the city.

From firsthand experience, the previous two mayors (me being one of them), would ask during the "Presentation to City Council by members of the Public" if anyone in the audience wanted to make a presentation.  Apparently the current mayor chooses not to.  (Please note that I did not attend this meeting and if memory serves I have only attended one council meeting since leaving office in 2012.)

The press release states "it should be noted that, prior to and during such meeting, no Citizen came forth to indicate a desire to discuss any matter on the agenda, or any subject pertaining to city government."

Was there a city official or city employee that told each and every person before they came into the council chamber that if they wanted to address the council they would have to let them know prior to the meeting? My guess is that there was not, BECAUSE the agenda already says between 6:05-6:20 is reserved for citizens to make presentations.

Was there a separate posting other then the agenda to indicate to citizens that they must come forth prior to the meeting and let the City know they wish to make a presentation? Once again, my guess is that there was not, because the POSTED agenda already says between 6:05-6:20 is reserved for citizens to make presentations.

Let's be real here. A mistake was made. But instead of the City taking full responsibility (and let's face it, it was the mayor's error since he officiates the meeting), someone(s) at City Hall is trying to shift part of the blame on to its CITIZENS, when it says "no one came forth" to let us know they wanted to discuss a matter. Once again, how were they to know? Because apparently following your own agenda is not the right way to do it.

In my opinion, citizens did come forth. So many so, that the council chamber was full to standing room only. They did follow your POSTED instructions on how to make a presentation to the city, they were there between 6:05-6:20.

Now it is apparent from the press release that City Hall will create more rules and regulations, where none are needed. In the future to speak to the council you must make a "written request".  Why does any government create more rules, regulations and procedures for it citizens?  It's simple: to limit input from its citizens. 

Will you have to produce a photo id to show that you are a citizen as well?  Heaven forbid if a "non citizen" wanted to address the council. (Sarcasm there folks)

And what is good for the goose will have to be good for the gander. I assume now at EVERY meeting involving the city council and any of the city boards or committees that citizens will have to make a written request to be able to make a presentation to them as well. Can't enforce a set of regulations on one and not on the others.

If they'd simply followed the posted meeting agenda, none of this would be necessary.  Apparently this council has its own AGENDA.