New commission set to pledge openness, more public input

When the Fayette County Commission began getting public criticism on the West Fayetteville Bypass several years ago, one of the public complaints was that some commissioners were dismissive of their complaints about the project, and occasionally derisive.

But with three new commissioners being sworn in today (Jan. 2), they are expected to adopt a resolution that includes a pledge to “strive to be friendly, courteous, fair and compassionate in all our dealings,” while also treating each individual staff member with respect while also providing “an open and welcoming workplace” for employees.

The resolution also pledges to “give the citizenry ample opportunity to voice their comments and concerns in all meetings.”

The previous board allowed public comments at the beginning of the meeting, giving citizens a chance to address the board on any matter including the agenda items that were to be discussed later in the meeting. Public comments were also a part of public hearings on ordinance changes, zoning matters and the like.

The board also at times allowed, but was not required, to accept public comment on individual agenda items that were not official public hearings.

According to holdover County Commissioner Steve Brown, that will change with the new commissioners taking office. Brown in an email to The Citizen said he expects citizens will be allowed to speak on any agenda item at the same time the item is being discussed by the commission. Citizens will still be allowed to speak on any matters not on the agenda during the public comment portion of the meeting as well, Brown said.

“It will be the most open format ever presented from a Fayette County Board of Commissioners (or any other county government that I am aware of),” Brown wrote.

In addition to valuing public comment, the new resolution also affirms that the commission is responsible for looking out for citizens’ best interests.

The resolution also states that “although there may not be unanimous consent on every issue, the board requires complete honesty and integrity in everything we do while valuing everyone’s opinion.”

The resolution also notes that the board “vows to be good stewards of the citizens’ resources, exercising the same vigilance that we would use to guard and conserve our own personal resources.”

Husband and Fat...
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These will be difficult resolutions to keep

1. “strive to be friendly, courteous, fair and compassionate in all our dealings,” while also treating each individual staff member with respect while also providing “an open and welcoming workplace” for employees.

I can see the excuse now. Opps I didnt mean to..(fill in the blank)....
I am STRIVING to be ....(fill in the blank..)

2. “give the citizenry ample opportunity to voice their comments and concerns in all meetings.”

This was a great way to pull in votes. After the 4th meeting that ends around midnight, I can see this being scaled back. (And for good reason)

3. The resolution also notes that the board “vows to be good stewards of the citizens’ resources, exercising the same vigilance that we would use to guard and conserve our own personal resources.”

Oh no, now we are all going to declare bankruptcy (twice).

Robert W. Morgan
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Just limit the comments to registered and active voters

If we do that, no meeting will be very long. When someone signs up to speak, simply check his or her name against the list of those Fayette County citizens that voted in the last election and if they did - green light them to speak for a minute or two. If they haven't voted - no comments allowed. Why should we or the commissioners and staff have to listen to someone who didn't vote? No excuse whatsoever with the liberal early voting hours.

Of course somebody will eventually suggest that this ban on speaking be extended to include those that don't pay property taxes or are behind on their mortgage or are unemployed or something. Need to hold the line against extremism.

On the civility issue, it would be best if our new crop of leaders resisted the temptation to slander the previous regime. Calling someone a "pothead" or "senile" or "developer-controlled" or "untrustworthy" is just as bad as calling someone "part-drunk". Let's not do any of that. OK?

Spyglass
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Slippery slope..

Making only voters eligible to speak...has every Commissioner elected voted in every election? Our rules just don't work that way.

Make folks register to comment, and limit them in said comments to time and number...you don't need 25 folks to stand up and say the exact same thing...

Robert W. Morgan
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"every election" is setting the bar too high

"last election" is what I said and what I meant, although "latest" or "most-recent" election would be more grammatically correct. Might be some debate about the "last election" being the regular election or a runoff, but those are details.

Yes indeed, register the speakers ahead of time, check if they voted and create a list. Don't know how you prevent repetition as hot items will turn out many passionate people wanting to speak. Anyhow, our new chairman promised openness and he shall have it - and he shall manage it. Hope he embraces the only voters can speak idea. It just makes sense. i mean how can anyone say they didn't have the opportunity to vote? The early voting, Saturday voting, absentee ballots readily available, etc.

G35 Dude
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Last Election may be setting the bar too high

I might be ok with only allowing registered voters to speak. But sometimes not voting is a statement in and of itself. So I don't agree with the requirement that this voter had to have voted in the last election.

Robert W. Morgan
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You can always vote for Mickey Mouse, G35

So, not voting in order to make a statement is not relevant. Vote for Mickey, vote for Bonkers, vote for Joe DiMaggio, vote for pumpkin, just vote for or against something or someone.

Therefore, I do not agree that not voting gives one a seat at the table - or a voice in the meeting. You don't vote at all - you are useless scum of the earth. Not you personally of course - just speaking generically.

And in fairness when the Chairman announces his new rules for speaking/voting, you will know about it way ahead of time. I assume there will be a grace period between now and Nov.

BTW G35 dude, they have a G37 out now. My neighbor has one and it is sweet! Upgrade dude.

G35 Dude
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RWM-I need a loan
Quote:

BTW G35 dude, they have a G37 out now. My neighbor has one and it is sweet! Upgrade dude.

I'd love to. Will you loan me about 20k? LOL

And yes one could vote for Mickey, but why? What value is that over not voting to make a point? You just want me to burn some gas and stand in line to have the right to speak at a board meeting?

AtHomeGym
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Voting & Speaking at commission meetings

I can just see some freedom of speech complaint emerging! If you want to limit speakers, why not say "ok, first 8 folks to sign up can yak for a max of 4 minutes each". So who proposed such a restriction on citizen speakers anyway? And why would any commissioner want to restrict citizen comments in such a manner?

Spyglass
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Sometimes nobody running deserves a vote

Just saying..

But if you want lawsuits galore, by all means move forward with your plan.

SB and managing, now that is funny right there.

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