By: Diane Benjamin
Craig Stimpert spoke about the proposed changes to Normal’s Public Comment policy. See 16:45. Two years ago Craig forced them to change their “only speak once in 45 days” rule. He was back last night to request “germane to the agenda” be removed too. He also objected to the 15 minute rule to sign up to speak.
The fun began when the Council was forced to discuss it by Karyn Smith. If Karyn hadn’t pulled it, Stan Nord would have.
Keep in mind, the policy change was on the Omnibus Vote Agenda and would never have been discussed by the previous Council.
This discussion started at 1:07. The written policy was revised but not included in the packet reflecting that people who want to speak can notify Pamela Recce by email or phone as well as sign up 15 minutes before the meeting. The Council REFUSED to decrease the 15 minutes. Craig Stimpert told them the Council members don’t have to come 15 minutes early, why should citizens? This isn’t rocket science – all that happens is somebody walks the sign up sheet to Koos and he reads the names. Need 15 minutes for that? Nord wanted to give more citizens the right to speak unimpeded. Smith’s amendment failed.
Smith then presented an amendment to strike “germane to the agenda”. It also failed to pass even when the Council was told there was a question on the Open Meetings Act training giving an exact example where that policy was declared illegal by the Attorney General. Pamela Reece claimed their current policy isn’t illegal.
When and if the Attorney General’s office ever gets around to ruling on Smith’s request for Review where she was denied the right to speak, citizens need to attend and snicker while Normal is forced yet again to comply with the law. The Town policy is still illegal and they will be forced to change it.
Many of the Council members related their experiences listening to citizens. They claim there is lots of opportunities, no need to remove “germane”.
Once again Council: You might listen, but then you do whatever you want anyway. Examples: Mural. new Fire Station, 1 Uptown Circle, underpass, Trail East, need more?
They still don’t understand why they are staring at two new Council members.
(all they know is they aren’t happy about it)
Also discussed were the Harmon Arts grants. I predict both Nord and Smith will want giving away taxpayer money to select groups out of the next budget.
After the lengthy meeting a few Trustees gave their thoughts. Kathleen Lorenz attempted to nicely tell the new members to knock it off. Go back to 59:55 too. Lorenz tells Nord and Smith they should be watching for now instead of questioning. If a third Nord-Smith minded person had been on the ballot last April, she would not be sitting there now. Just hit Play: