Edgerton Village Council May Review Public Comments Policy

Getting on the agenda to speak at village council meeting may get easier.

The Edgerton council will consider changing the rules to allow more residents to address the legislators on matters pertaining to the community. Current practice leaves it to the mayor to determine if the applicants issue has any merit.

Council member Chuck Wilson brought up the question following an executive session on a separate matter. Wilson’s question was fueled in part by a request by a contractor whose bid to reconstruct Depot Street was rejected by council.

The contractor wanted to speak to council about the bids, but Mayor Lance Bowsher rejected the request because the issue has been settled.

Wilson asked his colleagues if the policy was too restrictive and maybe council should decide who gets to speak.

Wilson’s propsal was to give people 3 minutes to speak and then give council until the next meeting to decide if it will respond. If council decides not to pursue the matter it is closed and people will not be able to address the panel on that matter.

Bowsher cited past practice that led to the current policy (Rule 18) where people would get up in a meeting and ask council questions and demand a response then and there. The meeting would fall into chaos, he said.

“The circus is not coming to town,” Bowsher said.

Council member Greg Jennings offered a different perspective. People now approach council members on the street and hope the legislator can relay their comments to the full council, he said.

“We were put here to listen,” Jennings said. “A person can talk to a council member or they can present their thoughts to council.

“Let us hear them in their own words.”

Wilson pressed for a more open forum.

“We want public participation,” Wilson said. “We need the public, we don’t need one person to decide.”

Council will consider the question until the next meeting.

James Pruitt may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

© 2017, James Pruitt. All rights reserved.

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