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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bethlehem Tp's Proposed Public Comment Policy

Here is the public comment policy that Bethlehem Tp Comm'r Malissa Davis has proposed, as revealed by the back-up documents to Monday night's agenda.
A consensus of the Board (Pat Breslin, Tom Nolan, Kim Jenkins and Malissa Davis) would like to discuss changing meeting rules with respect to when meeting attendees could ask questions and make comments. We would like to discuss using the same policy as the Planning Commission, i.e. Courtesy of the Floor is used for topics not on the agenda, but agenda items can be discussed after the board has commented and before a vote. We believe this will result in more informed comments, more relevant questions and more informed residents.
I find it incredible that the first thing she would do is propose a public comment policy when she herself last year stated one was unnecessary and was "disrespectful to the citizens." During Monday night's meeting, she hinted at placing a time limit on speakers. But that's not in this version. Solicitor Jim Broughal has already ruled that this policy, if adopted, complies with the Sunshine Act.

The problem with this policy is a requires a strong Chair who will make sure public input is solicited as each agenda item is raised. Lee Snover does this on the Planning Commission and is very effective. Nobody leaves one of her meetings feeling they've been ignored. It appears that Malissa Davis really likes the Lee Snover approach, but Pat Breslin is no Lee Snover. He's still in the meeting room, trying to say "adjourned."


Anonymous said...

What exactly is the matter with this God forsaken place.

Anonymous said...

This is essentially the same thing bedlum does. It works except that council doesn't listen as they play with their cell phones. They very rarely reply.