Alderman Sullivan to Present Resolution on Public Comments at City Council Meetings

November 6, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Alderman Tonya Sullivan is introducing a resolution to establish procedures for city residents to speak at city board meetings.

The proposed resolution may be discussed at the next city council meeting on Monday, November 17th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Alderman Sullivan says this resolution will provide and insure the following: Citizens will have three minutes to voice their concerns on any matter, citizens will have an opportunity to be heard before votes are cast by speaking at the beginning of the meeting, the "comments by citizens" session will be a part of the agenda, so that your voice will be heard. "I have a responsibility to the citizens of Smithville to establish a process for their voice to be heard. This resolution, if passed, will insure that citizens can speak on issues before the board votes. In the past, the board hasn't heard from the citizens until the end of the meeting and votes have already been cast. This resolution will benefit the public and the board. This has been a long time coming and is a much needed resolution. This resolution is to insure that the citizens of Smithville are always heard. I invite you to call the mayor and your aldermen and express your concerns. I encourage your attendance at the November 17th meeting and I will continue to be your voice. I will continue to stand up for you and I will continue to do my best for the city. Please, don't be silenced. Let your voice be heard. Contact the mayor's office and your city alderman and encourage them to vote for this resolution."

The proposed resolution states that " Whereas, in our system of representative government, the Mayor and City Board members are charged with the responsibility of informing themselves and making sound decisions that affect the lives of the citizens of Smithville; and

Whereas, it is a commonly accepted practice in Tennessee cities to provide an opportunity for citizens input, as part of the board meetings so long as such comments are not permitted to degenerate into debates between citizens and the Mayor or board members; and

Whereas, it is the desire of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville that citizens be provided the opportunity to make comments at board meetings in accordance with established procedures; and

Now, therefore, be it resolved:

Citizens of the City of Smithville are hereby authorized to make comments at the beginning of each regular or special called meeting of the board, in accordance with the following:

The person desiring to speak should rise, address the Chair, and when recognized, state their name and address. Only residents of the City of Smithville shall be allowed to speak during the "comments by citizens" part of the board's agenda, unless requested to do so by the board.

After providing the required information, the person shall be allowed to speak for three minutes on any matter of concern to the citizen.

All citizens comments shall be directed to the Mayor. The Mayor may address questions to individual aldermen, but in no event will the citizen be permitted to call names, question the integrity or motive of individual aldermen, or make personal or derogatory comments.

It is the responsibility of the Mayor to maintain order at city board meetings."

Alderman Sullivan says "the citizens depend on the mayor and aldermen to conduct business in a fair and just manner. Listening to the citizens should always be our business."

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