Congratulations Mayor and Council as the staff has amended the agenda for the upcoming special council meeting to now include #3 PUBLIC COMMENT. CLICK HERE to see the new agenda. Its good to see that they read my blog as I try to post helpful, even if sometimes blunt, recommendations.
This Agenda did not always include Public Comment. Public comment was conspicuously missing from the first edition of this agenda. I raised this issue in my prior post of Jan 19, 2014: Special Council meeting. Why is the public excluded from commenting on the expenditure of a quarter of a million dollars? Not only is this morally wrong to exclude public comment, but the attempt to stifle public comment conflicts with recent state law.
Remember, there was significant public input in the first 8 years of this village and I want to see it continue. Public input should be valued, not avoided, by elected officials. It adds to transparency and makes for a better final product.
This is an example of positive results from pushing Mayor Stanczyk and Council to do not only the right thing, but to comply with State Law.
PROHIBITING PUBLIC COMMENT IS CONTRARY TO STATE LAW:
Senate bill 50 was enacted into law during the 2013 legislative session and took effect October 1, 2013. This law created 286.0114, F.S. and requires the public be given the reasonable opportunity to speak at public meetings, like a city council or school board meeting.
This law was enacted to ensure public participation. While many local governments were like Palmetto Bay’s first 8 years and allowed public comment, this was done based upon a moral obligation and concern for fairness, not due to legal requirements. The right to speak wasn’t explicitly outlined in the state’s open meetings law. The public’s right to speak at government meetings is now guaranteed by state law and fortunately for all of us, Mayor Stanczyk cannot take this away.