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Fayette changes public comment to require advance signup

Citizens wishing to address the Fayette County Commission at either of its two regular meetings will have to sign up just prior to the meeting.

That was one of the biggest changes in the new meeting rules adopted by the commission at its Aug. 11 meeting.

Some citizens had urged the commission to ditch the signup requirement because it would hamper those who might show up after the 7 p.m. meeting start due to metro Atlanta traffic.

However, the public comment period is one of the first items on the agenda, so anyone running late by any significant amount could end up being left out anyway.

There was some sentiment initially to moving public comment to the end of the meeting agenda, but a number of citizens complained that would make their comment ineffective. Ultimately the commission agreed to keep public comments at the beginning of the meeting,

Commissioner Steve Brown, who opposed some of the other changes to the ordinance, said he was against the rules but he would vote in favor as a matter of procedure. By voting in favor, Brown will be allowed to bring the matter up again at a future meeting in his effort to make changes.

Brown in particular opposed language that allows the commission chairman to rule “personal attacks and inappropriate remarks” out of order. He claimed such a rule was “arbitrary and capricious.”

Chairman Herb Frady said he didn’t think the public would see any difference in how the meeting is run, other than having to sign up for public comment.

Brown also opposed the signup procedure, saying that eight citizens walked into last Thursday’s meeting after it began but prior to public comment, noting all of them would not be given the opportunity to speak.

The chief reason for requiring the signups is to streamline the process of calling citizens to the podium in an orderly manner, several commissioners have said.



BHH's picture

I see no reason why we should not be allowed to sign up to speak any time prior to the meeting.

Even as much as a month before the meetings.

Why does it have to be "just prior to the meeting"?

Sign up should even be allowed online or by proxy.


ginga1414's picture

This method to discourage public participation in our local governmental process has dated back to the beginning of Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell's reign.

Jack Smith ruled commission meetings with an iron fist. Frady, Horgan, and Hearn are following in Smith and Maxwell's policy of intimidation.

When Public Comments got too hot and heavy for Chairman Frady, he tried to beat down the people with his gavel. He tried to intimidate them by sicking the deputy on folks. When threats didn't work, the only recourse was to call on the county attorney for some legal maneuvers.

At one point in time, after asking former Chairman Jack Smith a question, he told me in an email that if I wanted to know what was going on with the county government I would have to attend commission meetings. Well, I had attended commission meetings on a regular basis for two years and I still had questions.

A whole lot more folks started attending commission meetings. They, also, had questions and great concerns. Now, it seems, our three holdover commissioners have decided to hit us where it hurts with the old one-two punch. They raise taxes on our devalued property. Then they make it difficult for us to voice how we feel about it.

For the West Bypass folks it has been more like a triple whammy. They take our property, offer a ridiculous amount on property that has been devalued, raise taxes on our devalued property, send in the bulldozers to further devalue what property is left, and draft a new ordinance to curtail our public comments.

ginga1414's picture

I've already told them that I won't go away, and there are a lot of other folks hanging in there, too.

Thanks for the encouragement.

PTC Observer's picture

You will run against one of these guys, right?

All three are gone in the next election. Frady will retire so he is "undefeated", his ego is satisfied now that he is Chairman.

Get there early, that's what we do in PTC.

Christ, you people would bitch if they hung you with a new rope.

Get over it.

BHH's picture

are rather stiff and scratchy.


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