District 227 rethinks public comment rules
By Sarah Zylstra Correspondent July 18, 2012 9:52PM
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:54AM
The public comment time at the Rich Township High School District 227 board meetings is on the move again.
The 30-minute special meeting for public comments, which had been held before regular board meetings for about eight months, will now be the first item on the regular meeting’s agenda.
This move lets the board continue on to regular business if there aren’t enough comments to take the entire 30 minutes. People who comment also will be videotaped as part of the regular meeting.
“All of this should be rolled into one meeting, and it should appear on the district Web site,” board member David Morgan said.
Board member Cheryl Coleman suggested moving the second opportunity for public comment from the sixth item on the agenda to the 11th item, nearer to the end of the agenda.
“Just in case somebody wants to comment on what we’ve covered, what we’ve voted on, instead of waiting for a month to hear the feedback,” she said.
Board member Alyssa Hernandez disagreed.
“We just changed that recently — within the last two years — to try to streamline what we do,” she said. When the public comment time was toward the end of the meeting, residents complained about having to wait so long to speak, she said.
If anything, the two public comment times should be combined into one, she said.
Board member Shelia Whorton said two opportunities for comment are important, suggesting the second session should be item 8 or 9.
Board member Emmanuel Imoukhuede said, “We need to reflect on this and come up with decision at a later date.”
Morgan blasted the board for wasting time.
“We have no time to be sitting here dealing with something this simple,” he said. “We can get bogged down analyzing something to death and waiting for the next time — wait, wait wait. Let’s get it behind us and get on to the next business.”
Supt. Donna Leak said her staff would prepare an agenda with the second public comment section moved later in the meeting.