From Joe Picardi: In an effort to bring some needed civility and order to city council meetings, the Democratic majority on the council, at the suggestion of Fourth Ward Councilman Rick DeLucry, has voted in changes to the rules for the public comment portions of the meeting.
From now on, members of the public can no longer be interrupted by the mayor or members of council during their presentations. The mayor and council members must now wait until members of the public have finished speaking before responding to questions. Their responses will be restricted by a time limit of one minute. Members of the public can still speak for up to five minutes on agenda items at the beginning of the meeting before any votes are taken, and up to five minutes during the public comment portion at the end of the meeting.
I’m sure it will take a bit of time for all of us to get used to these changes. They should result in better meetings, because now everyone can speak without any interruptions. Furthermore, there has been no reduction in the amount of time the public can speak, and still no limitations on what they can say. What has been eliminated is the all too common and improper practice of interrupting the public and hijacking their time with speeches.
Joe Picardi, Brigantine Councilman.