Monday, August 12, 2013

Public Meeting Policy Review-City Stonewalls Reply

First, let me apologize up front for the length of this post.  It is lengthy because I want to quote some items completely:

For some background, one might want to read this article in the Shawnee Dispatch
On Wed, 8/7/13 I emailed Councilmember Neighbor since he is the current council president and as such serves as chairman of the council committee:

From: Ray Erlichman
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 5:30 PM
To: Jim Neighbor
Subject: Public comments at Committee meetings


 The below is taken from the brochure that is handed out to the public concerning meetings.

 Please reply as to why do you not ask for public comments?  I believe some folks might have had comments last night.

 Going forward it would be nice if you complied with the info in this brochure.


 City Council Committees

Much of the actual work of the Governing
Body is done in the Council Committee.
The Council Committee Meetings are
held on the first Tuesday following the first
Monday of the month and begin at 7:00 p.m.
Additional meetings can be called by the

Council Committee.

The Council President serves as chair of the
Council Committee. The Vice Chair of the
Council Committee and Council President are
elected on by the Governing Body annually at
the first City Council Meeting in April.
Agendas for these meetings are generally
available at City Hall from the City Manager’s
office at (913) 742-6014 or on the City website
at by 8:00 a.m. on the
Friday preceding the meetings.
Committee meetings are generally less
formal than council meetings and discussion
is generally more comprehensive. The
chairperson of the committee will invite
comments on an agenda item from speakers in
the audience. The committees do not take final
action on a topic they discuss; however, they
forward their recommendations to a regular
City Council meeting for formal action by the
entire Governing Body. The Committee does
not entertain comments from the public on
items that are not on the meeting agenda.
I then followed that up with an item of additional information:

 Just in case you feel that the info in the brochure is not sufficient, the following is extracted from PS-7
 Order of Business, Point of Order, Obtaining the Floor, Public Comment
 D.        No interested person in attendance shall speak more than twice to any question, nor more than five (5) minutes each time, except where such other limitations may be imposed by action of the Governing Body, or the Council Committee, prior to hearing such questions.
This is the reply I received:
Ray, thanks for your comments. As I mentioned in my opening comments Tuesday night, the PS-7 will be discussed at a future committee meeting.
I expect that staff will have a revised draft ready by the October or November Committee meeting.  This will be the opportunity for more committee discussion, and public input before the final version is forwarded to  the Council for approval.
Jim Neighbor
 Well, I remember when  Mayor Jeff Meyers once said if I didn't get an answer I liked I'd ask the question again.  Well, it's not an answer I don't like, it's the stonewalling and the non-answers that bother me.  The bovine scatological attempt at not responding to a direct question. 
 My reply yesterday:
I noticed that you have failed to reply to my original email, not the “part II” below
I still would like to know why public input was not asked for last Tuesday night, as indicated in the brochure handed out by the city with regards to meetings.  I will again quote from that brochure
“The chairperson of the committee will invite
comments on an agenda item from speakers in the audience.”
Saying that it will be discussed at a future meeting is insufficient.  There were no limitations imposed by the committee.  It seems that your actions were arbitrary and capricious.
Again, I asked a specific question, and expect a specific reply, not a dance around.  It was an agenda item and comments were NOT asked for.  Did you ever give any thought to the idea that maybe, just maybe, citizen input might have been helpful towards the staff preparing a draft? And that could actually result in reduced staff time in that preparation?  Or maybe you feel that citizens don’t have the ability to suggest workable solutions to various situations.
Thank you

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