The other major change is that the city has eliminated the second public-comment period at its regular meetings. That idea doesn’t sit as well with us — or with some councilors, as it took a tie-breaker vote by Mayor Donald Kasprzak to drop the second comment time.
We are never in favor of reducing comment sessions; it is the best opportunity for citizens to bring issues to a board’s attention in a public manner. Shared discussion of concerns is important because more than a select few can weigh in and because the public can be made aware of the brewing issues.
Ward 4 Councilor James Calnon said the second comment session is sometimes abused. “People have said things that are just not true, and it’s frightening,” he said. Frankly, we think it is frightening that any reduction in public-comment time was even considered, no matter what the speakers are saying.
And since the council will meet every other week now, the opportunity for public comment is further reduced.
The only city in the North Country should be a role model for government behavior. The city has embraced openness for years; this is no time for a step back.