|One of the responsibilities elected officials have is hearing from
and representing their constituents. That's actually one of the best
parts of the job. As a commissioner, I for one appreciate and look
forward to hearing from those in my district and hopefully I can do
something to help with what ever issue they may have.
Surprisingly, we actually have very few residents who attend commission meetings. I kind of hope that means maybe we're doing a pretty good job of watching over county operations and folks are at least happy with the direction we're going. But that's not the case with everyone.
We have three individuals who attend nearly all meetings and comment at nearly all meetings. And that's OK. Their input is welcome. There's Mr. Anklin from Tellico Village who generally comes prepared to comment on topics he feels are important and that's good. Then there's Pat Hunter from the 5th district who tells us what we should do, what we should have done and what we did wrong and that's OK too. Then there's Mr. Truit, also from the 5th district, who for the longest time came with his written statement that was usually to the point and even sometimes humorous and that's great. But recently it's changed for the bad.
Mr. Truit, you may remember, was the gentleman who made the public records request earlier this year where he asked for all government related communications between the county mayor and all ten commissioners for about a thirty day time period. His request was subsequently fulfilled and apparently nothing inapproprate was found.
Mr. Truit and the others were upset when the new commission chairman, with the full support of the commission, changed the public comment period from twice per meeting to once per meeting. Use to be the public commented on items on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting and issues not on the agenda at the end of the meeting. The change moved all public comment to the beginning of the meeting regardless of whether an issue was or was not on the agenda.
Mr. Truit was convinced that some kind of nefarious, secret, behind the scenes action was taken in order to make the change to the agenda. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The change was discussed at two different meetings, the public was given their public comment time to discuss the issue and the commission voted on the change.
With all that, Mr. Truit is still accusing the commission of taking his right to speak away during the public speaking time on the agenda.
Thirty days of communications in a public records request, no one has been denied a single second of speaking time and yet somehow the commission is being accused of wrong doing. Just saying the same thing over and over doesn't make it true.