Discussion to change public comment


City council talks about changing the procedure for public comment

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA)– You have a problem, you want to talk about it and sometimes to people in charge. The city council is talking about limiting public comment at their meetings.

“I speak in front of the city council every couple of weeks give or take,” said Phillips, “Sometimes it’s to give them a chance to think about what you have to say.” Some council members haven’t been happy with how public comment has been going, so they talked about changing the procedure.

“I think there were some city council members who thought that some of the citizen comments may not have been on topic or may have been personal as opposed to discussing a particular issue at hand,” said David Horn. Right now public comment is allowed at the beginning of the meeting. People have three minutes to talk on any topic they want. The city council also hears from people after each agenda item has been introduced and discussed. That’s when people may go off topic. “It may be on the agenda tonight. It may be on the agenda six weeks from now, but I want to give you some information so you have time to check it,” said Phillips.

At a recent meeting city council talked about limiting public comment to the beginning of the meeting or limiting or eliminating public comment after each agenda item is discussed but before being voted on. That’s not a change everyone wants to see happen. “It really wouldn’t allow the council to hear the public’s views, to reflect on what the citizens are saying, and then to act accordingly,” said Horn. “Taking away time when the population already feels like they’re not being heard. That doesn’t make any sense at all,” said Phillips.

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