The chairperson of the Herkimer County Legislature’s Committee on Administration and Veterans’ Affairs announced the withdrawal of a resolution that would have placed public comment at the end of the monthly legislature meeting.
“More discussion is needed on the issue,” said Legislator Jean Maneen, R - German Flatts, during the Herkimer County Legislature’s third quarterly meeting on Wednesday.
Some of the details that still need to be worked out include what type of topics are being raised during the meetings and whether there should be open discussion during committee meetings.
According to the resolution that had originally been proposed, comments by residents would have been moved down to the second-to-last item for the order of business, after the presentation of petitions, unfinished business, committee reports and resolutions.
During a June 27 meeting of the Committee on Administration and Veterans’ Affairs, legislators discussed putting the public comment portion at the end of the legislature meeting, or abolishing it all together. Some legislators said the public comment portion has become filled with negative statements and with comments that sometimes attack county personnel.
Opponents to the resolution have expressed concerns about having public comment at the end of the meeting because legislators may leave early, or some residents will not be able to sit through an entire meeting to make their comments.
Legislator Helen Rose, D - Herkimer, was one of the opponents to the resolution.
“What we need to understand is that disagreement is not an attack,” she said after the meeting. “The public has a vested interest in ensuring that we do learn.”
One resident said he was glad to see the legislature had withdrawn the resolution from the meeting’s agenda. He thanked the legislators for “not doing away” with public comment.
“It’s going to remain as it is,” said Carl Streeter, of Ilion, during Wednesday’s public comment at the beginning of the meeting. “As much as you may not like it, I will come back and have some more comments.”