Remember to make your point when speaking
Though several other boards in the area have a time limit to speak, most do not stick with it, allowing people to talk for as long as they would like.
In the city, they use green, yellow and red cards, held up to alert a person how much time they have left. Then when time is up and a red card is held, the person must finish their thought and stop speaking.
Though some residents may not agree with this practice, it is great one for many reasons.
Speaking at a meeting is a privilege. Boards and municipalities do not have to allow a public comment period during a meeting. Though law should require this, it does not. So the fact that most boards in the area offer this is a plus.
In sitting through meetings and listening to the public voice their opinions, it is obvious that most have very good ideas and great points that could better the area in which they live in. The problem is many that speak let emotions get in the way.
It is an elected officials job to listen to their constituents and act in the best interest of the community. However, it is important to remember that elected officials are still human.
They have lives outside of their board duties, they have personal problems, they work long hours at their jobs, they get sick, they can get exhausted or their mind could be on 100 different things.
Also, not only are they sitting through an hour plus long meeting, there is usually a work session meeting before, they might have just come out of an executive session or their focus could be on the agenda items they will be passing that night.
So when it comes to public comments, though it might be the best comment in the world, one that could better the area and help solve every problem the community faces, if you go on and on for 10 plus minutes, the main point you are trying to get at, the main suggestion you are trying to make, will probably get lost and not be heard at all.
Most board members and elected officials in the area are easily accessible outside of meetings. Their phone numbers and email address are public knowledge and listed on board websites.
If you have a large issue on something, contact them outside of a meeting. Set up a time to talk with them and express your opinions and concerns when their focus is solely on you.
Explain to them why you need to meet with them and they, as your representative, should understand that you, like them, want what is best for the community.
Then at a meeting, take your allotted time to ask a direct question or make the main part of your statement.
Itís the best way to make sure what you want known is always heard and taken into consideration and steps are truly taken to make this area better.