By DAN HEATH
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh Town Council has changed its public-comment policy.
At its 2013 organizational meeting, the council unanimously approved moving the opportunity for citizens to speak up from the twice-monthly regular meetings to the twice-monthly “work sessions.”
Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said the council became concerned that the time spent on public comment was becoming very lengthy and could cut into the televised coverage of meetings.
The town is limited to one hour of public-access air time for its recording of each meeting; it does not tape its work sessions.
“People who can’t go to a meeting look forward to seeing it on public TV,” Bassett said. “We’re not going to provide access at the expense of people’s ability to see the council in action.”
People who want to address the council will still be able to do so, Bassett said, but work sessions are not televised. Some people might feel more comfortable if they can address the council in a more informal setting, he said.
Work sessions are still open to the public, by law.
Bassett said he is in his office every day for people who have concerns they want to address. But, he said, he realizes some prefer to address the entire council.
“I believe we are very transparent.”
Speakers will still be required to state their name and address for the record. Comments are still limited to five minutes.
The council has also changed the start of regular and work sessions from 6:30 to 7 p.m. The first work session of the year is scheduled for today.
The councilor’s committee appointments remain the same as last year.
Councilors Tom Wood and Martin Mannix are on the Assessing, Planning and Zoning Committee; Paul Lamoy and Gerard Renadette, Auditing Committee; Lamoy and Mannix, Building and Grounds Committee; Renadette and Mannix, Community Services Committee and Ambulance Committee; Wood and Mannix, Highway Committee; Lamoy and Renadette, Safety Committee; Renadette and Wood, Water and Sewer Committee; Wood and Lamoy, Youth Services and Recreation Committee; Mannix and Renadette, Personnel Committee; and Lamoy and Wood, Justice Court Committee.
Bassett and each councilor were appointed to serve as liaisons to one of the five fire departments that cover a part of the town.
Wood was assigned to Plattsburgh District 3; Mannix to Cadyville; Bassett to Morrisonville; Lamoy to South Plattsburgh; and Renadette to Cumberland Head.
Email Dan Heath