Thursday, June 15, 2006

Public Hearings and You

You should know how to act
at government meetings. Meaning
mostly city and county type.
One's that have Public Hearings.
So here are the rules... they
have been borrowed from the city
of Kootenai.

Rules of conduct for Public
1. All comments and questions are
to be directed through the
presiding officer. (mayor or such)
2. All testimony must address the merits
of the application or proposal, based
upon the compliance or lack of
compliance with the comprehensive
plan and applicable ordinances
3.Only those given the floor will be
allowed to speak at a given time.
4. Members of the audience are asked
to be quiet while others are speaking.
5. Cell phones and pagers must be
turned off or in silent mode and are not
to be answered in the hearing room.
6. All speakers must clearly identify
themselves and give their address for
the record.
7. The council reserves the right to
set a time limit for testimony and/or
to prohibit repetitive testimony.

Procedures for the Public Hearing process:

1. Opening of the hearing by the officer
(mayor or such)
2. Determination if proper notice was posted.
3. Declaration of conflict by any members, if
4. Presentation by applicant
5. Staff reports
and this is where you come in
6. Public Testimony in favor of
7. Public Testimony in neither favor
nor opted to
8. Public Testimony opposed to
9. Rebuttal by the applicant
10. closure of the hearing by officer
11. Deliberation and decision.

Now what is important to you, is...
when there is a public hearing on
any application or procedure... and
you have an opinion.... you need to
sign up a sheet that is available at
most meetings.
Again... I say, and they do repeat it
thru the meeting... and ask again,
as they pick up the sign up sheet
to speak... "Has everyone sign up,
who want to speak?
" Sign up if you
have an opinion. Sign up even if you
don't know if you have an opinion yet.
You can always say, when your name is
called, that they answered any questions
you had.
Then after number 11 of the Procedure,
if you did not vocalize your thoughts...don't
be mad, because they voted the other way.

Don't sit there and be angry, and then
get up verbalizing loudly, as you leave
because things didn't go your way.

If you see it posted that there is going to
be a meeting about something.. a Public
Meeting.. then be there. Don't think your
neighbors are going to do it all for you.
You ALL have to be there. Your councilman
can't not do it all by himself. You have
to support him, so he can support you.

Speak calmly, speak respectfully,
speak with how you feel, but keep
it short. The longer you go, the more
tuned out the people become.

Sign up and speak up. Or like the
old saying says... or forever hold
your peace.

Will it change things?? Maybe.
But at least you told them how
you feel.... and if they don't listen?
Then you know what to do next
election time..VOTE..

1 comment:

Bill McCrory said...


I've testified at several public hearings, and I've found it's a good idea to read a prepared statement that you've rehearsed several times and you know will conclude within the time allowed for comment (five minutes in CdA City Council). Some people will say that reading a prepared statement is not as emotionally effective, but usually the purpose of making a statement is to get your position on the record. A written, rehearsed statement allows for maximum clarity, completeness, and brevity. Also, you should have two or three extra copies of your prepared statement with your name, address, and telephone number on each copy. Always give one copy to the clerk or recording secretary or whoever is taking the minutes. The other copies? You never know who was impressed by your statement. Could be the press, another official, etc. The bottom line is to be as prepared as possible.