County broadens public comment policy

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The following is a press release from the offices of the Franklin County commission administration, regarding its Public Comment/Participation policy at its regular meetings, held the first and third Tuesday mornings of every month at the courthouse annex, and broadcast online as well.

Welcome

The Franklin County Board of County Commissioners are pleased to have you at our commission meeting. We appreciate your presence, welcome your participation, and want your visit to be interesting and informative.

The following is a brief summary of the Commission’s Meeting Rules of Procedure that apply to citizen participation. See the meeting agenda so that you can follow each item of business the Commission will be discussing.

If you want to address the Commission about an issue that is not on the agenda, or is about a non-action item on the agenda, the place to do this is during “Public Comments” and you may speak for up to three minutes. This time is reserved for citizens who want to make a request or provide input that doesn’t require discussion. The spot is frequently used by citizens who don’t want to stay for the entire meeting and don’t need an immediate response from the Commission.

Citizens also have a chance to address the Commission about action items on the agenda. After a motion has been seconded on any action item, the Chair will ask if there are any comments from the audience. If you wish to speak, limit remarks to no more than one minute. For the record, always give your name and address before you begin speaking. If you’re representing a particular group or organization, state that, too.

Always address remarks to the Chair or the Commission as a whole, never to an individual commissioner or the audience. Speakers may speak once on an action item and may not yield their time to another person.

IMPORTANT: In order to be recognized by the Chairman to speak, either during public comments or on any agenda action item, you must have completed and submitted a speaker card to the Board’s Administrative Office prior to the start of the meeting. You may fill out the speaker card here.

Be Brief, Be Relevant, and Always Be Civil.

Commission meetings can be long. Our Commission works hard to keep meetings moving along in a productive and civil manner. Please plan your remarks so that you can make your point clearly and quickly.

Always be courteous and civil. The Chair may call down speakers (or members of the audience) who violate the Commission’s rules of decorum.

Here are some “no-no’s”: Personal attacks or threats, booing, heckling, cheering, inappropriate clapping, verbal outbursts, and distracting private conversations during proceedings.

Also, signs are okay outside of the meeting room, but are not allowed in it.

Commission Meeting Rules of Procedure (which will be available at franklincountyflorida.com) give the Chair control of the meeting, much like a judge controls his courtroom. These same rules also give the Chair the flexibility to use his or her judgment in running an efficient and orderly meeting.

Thanks for your interest. We’re glad you’re here!

Please note: Except for common courtesy rules, slightly different guidelines may apply to public hearings and workshops.

This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: County broadens public comment policy

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