AND NOW A WORD FROM CROTON UNITED: We seldom post news from outside of our village, but this story caught our eye. It concerns the mayor of Evesham, New Jersey, who has advised residents that they will no longer be allowed to ask questions of the town board at public meetings. Rather, they will be permitted to "make comments only." Apparently the mayor's decision has sparked a firestorm in the township and has alarmed government watchdogs, such as the nonpartisan citizens’ action group, Common Cause.
Why is this
story of note? It's because as of January 2015, our village board has
quietly decided to follow the same policy as the mayor of Evesham.
According to the board, citizens who attend regular board meetings are
permitted to make comments only; questions that the board prefers not to
answer, they simply ignore. To underscore this change, the board has
changed its meeting agendas from including sections for “citizen
participation” to including sections called “public comment”. Why the
name change? Because, according to the village manager, calling that
portion of the meeting public comment “more actually identif[ies] the
purpose of that portion of the meeting.”
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