by: Diane Benjamin
Aldermen Rob Fazzini really doesn’t like citizens. He especially doesn’t like them making comments at Council meetings. He also doesn’t bother to read the law (that he took training in) before commenting to the Council.
Before every Council meeting aldermen can submit questions to the staff concerning items on the agenda.
The Q&A are posted on the City website. http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7085
Last night the Council voted to change the wording for public comment at meetings. Rob didn’t like the new rules:
Alderman: Robert Fazzini
Item 7Z: Text Amendment to Chapter 2 Administration regarding Public Comment at City Council Meetings. (Recommend the Text Amendment be reconsidered and that the Ordinance be passed.)
Question/Comment: I will request that this be pulled for discussion on three points: 1. Speakers should be chosen based on allowing as many citizens as possible participate rather than the some people monopolizing the speaking opportunities. 2. Public comment should be once per month rather than every meeting. 3. Retain the portion of the current ordinance that a person who speaks at a meeting be ineligible to speak again for two calendar months.
Staff Response: Although somewhat vague, the Open Meetings Act provides under Subsection 2.06(g) that “Any person shall be permitted an opportunity to address public officials under the rules established and recorded by the public body.” This has been interpreted by the Attorney General’s office to mean that public comment must be held at every meeting of the public body subject to the public body’s reasonable rules. Unfortunately, there have not been any cases interpreting this provision of the Act, and so the City’s public comment rules have been written liberally and in compliance with suggestions by the Attorney General’s office. Although some have desired keeping the portion of the rules that prohibits a speaker from being eligible to speak more than once every two calendar months, staff does not believe this is tied to a legitimate objective of the Act and that it would be successfully challenged. That said, the rules do provide if someone is not able to speak at a meeting, they will be entitled to speak first at the next meeting.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to speak at every meeting.
Nothing makes Fazzini and the potted plants more upset than to be told in public and on tape they are spending your money frivolously.
Last night one citizens, Elizabeth Gruber did just that. Start watching at 11:00: