There could be a change in the way public comments are handled at city council meetings.
City Administrator Bola Akande has suggested that anyone who wants to comment or ask a question in a meeting would need to fill out a card first. Then (deputy city clerk) Octavia Pittman or Akande would give it to the mayor.
Those wanting to comment would then be called on to come to the podium. Akande said how it would go from there is undetermined at this point.
“At the last meeting we had some residents complain that because now that we’re on YouTube, they feel reluctant to be on camera mentioning their home address,” Akande said.
She said she might not necessarily read the address out loud, but it would still be reflected in the minutes.
One of the committees, public safety, has, already implemented it, Akande said. She said the board of aldermen might make a decision about it at the August 20 meeting.
“It’s rather simplistic,” she said. “It forces people to think through their comments, so you’re not just rambling on endlessly.”
Alderwoman Maureen Saunders said at the public safety committee meetings a question turned in on a card at one meeting might not be answered until the next.
She said she doesn’t like the practice.
Saunders said it’s in Robert’s Rules of Order that it’s not mandatory for a commenter to give an address.
“The chairman could do away with that, so I do not want to go to public comment cards,” Saunders said.
How do you feel about public comment cards? Take the poll below.
(It's now necessary to have a Patch account to vote.)