Friday, February 17, 2012
February 17, 2012 Mayor Thomas' Letter To Morristown Taxpayers
In addition to voting to move public comments to the end of council meetings, Councilmembers Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, and Chris Bivens voted to reduce the time allowed for each speaker from three minutes down to two minutes.
Mayor Thomas and Councilmembers Gene Brooks and Claude Jinks stood up for the people.
Mayor Thomas tried to postpone any action on the agenda changes to allow more review of the situation. The four wouldn't wait.
Thomas explained that the proposal by Paul LeBel (supported by Bob Garrett, Kay Senter, and Chris Bivens) would result in the public being unable to speak about bids/contracts/ appointments/ resolutions/new business or any agenda item (other than required public hearings on the 2nd reading of ordinances) until after council had voted on that item.
The Mayor showed council that MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) encourages more public input rather than less during council meetings. That didn't sway the four.
The Mayor pointed out that the Hamblen County Commission, on which Councilman LeBel sits, puts public comments at the beginning of its meetings and allows all speakers three minutes and allows five minutes to speakers if they pre-register to speak. That didn't sway the four.
Nothing that Mayor Thomas or Councilman Gene Brooks said had any effect on the four councilmembers who are now going after the people in an effort to stifle expressions of concern or dissent at meetings.
On February 7, Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, and Chris Bivens continued down their chosen path of putting the people last --figuratively and literally.