At the January 23, 2023 Town Council meeting the chair announced he does not read letters into the public record.
“I’m sorry, I don’t read letters into public record, I really want the people to come down here.”Town Council Chairman John Farrell 1/23/2023
In addition a review of the Town Council minutes for the past year does not show any record of letters received, with the exception of one. At the August 15, 2022 meeting the chairman received another letter.
“So I have a letter that has been submitted to me for public comment….she asked me to read this into the record”Town Council Chairman John Farrell 8/15/2022
If letters are received but not read into the record and not added to the meeting minutes residents voices are muted. If you want to be heard you must now attend a town council meeting in person and address the council during public comment. If you have a second shift job or other obligations you have no voice.
This is not the first change in council rules. Public comment in the past did not have a time limit. Public comment was changed by the chairman to 5 minutes and recently has been lowered to only 3 minutes. The chair has allowed comments outside public comment in the past, but at another recent meeting allowed some people to comment, while refusing to allow others to speak.
“Openness in the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.”RSA 91-:1 Preamble. Sept 13, 1977
Resident deserve a voice in town government these arbitrary rules do not allow some to be heard.
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