Citizens get "HOOK"
Com. Meers, Commissioner, citizen, taxpayer Nancy Marcus, Richard Truitt
VIP Citizen, Taxpayer, Commissioner does not!
By: Pat Hunter
March 7, 2009
At Monday’s March 2nd Commission meeting, after Commissioner David Meers read the notaries and commission approval, Commission Chairman Roy Bledsoe asked if there were any people in the audience that wanted to speak on items not on the agenda. There were five people in total that spoke. One by one each came to the podium to address commission about various issues.
First to speak was Richard Truitt who introduced himself as a resident of the 5th District. He spoke about rules that govern citizens speaking at commission meetings and a commissioner that wasn't required to follow the same rules.
I understand this is the section of the meeting that you can talk for 5 minutes, Richard Truitt said. It was his understanding that a person could also talk for 5 minutes at the beginning of meeting. He couldn’t understand how a commissioner could speak for 45 minutes as a “citizen” and “not get the hook.” That’s the policy and I’ve seen one person get the "hook" since he had been attending meetings.
It seems like the policy is do as I say and not do as I do and the policy needs to be, do as I say, said Truitt.
Truitt never mentioned any names but recently Commissioner Nancy Marcus spoke at a commission workshop meeting as a citizen and taxpayer. The newspaper reported how she spoke for 45 minutes and argued against building a new school in Greenback. Commissioner Nancy Marcus mentioned that she told the Mayor to give her one hour when speaking.
Truitt commented that he didn’t want to listen to someone ramble for 45 minutes. You don’t enforce your own policies, he added.
Chairman Bledsoe explained how that had occurred at a commission workshop meeting and not a county commission meeting.
Truitt replied that he had seen that too, referring to citizens getting the “hook” at workshop meetings.
Richard Truitt, other citizens and I attended a commission workshop meeting when Mrs. Wenzel, a senior citizen, spoke in opposition to Mayor Arp's public records policy.
She had 5 minutes to speak but Mayor Arp interrupted her shortly after she started to speak and said something about, Stick to your comments or we will be here all night.
I thought I had 5-minutes, did I not, she replied? He didn't seem to want to hear what she had to say about his public records policy and she got the "Hook" about 2 minutes (est.) into speaking. In stark contrast, the Mayor said nothing to Nancy Marcus during her 45 minutes of comments about the Greenback School and school building plan.
Mr. Bledsoe was elected as Commission Chairman not Mayor Arp but the Mayor seems to run commission workshop meetings. How many times has the Mayor given the "Hook" to citizens when they spoke about subjects or matters that he didn't want to hear, while Nancy Marcus, citizen, taxpayer and commissioner was allowed to speak for 45 minutes without the Mayor's "Hook"? How fair is that?
Mayor Arp & Commissioner Bob Franke laughed as Richard Truitt returns to seat.