Clay Council now requires sign-in to make comments during council meetings
By Crystal McGough
For the Tribune
CLAY – Citizens attending the Clay City Council meeting Tuesday night will have noticed a new addition at the entrance to the council meeting room: a small table holding a sign-in sheet for public comments.
“There’s a note that tells them they have to sign in before the meeting starts and they have to declare their topic,” City Manager Ronnie Dixon said during pre-council.
According to Mayor Charles Webster, any citizens interested in speaking during the public comments portion of the meeting will need to sign the sheet during the pre-council session, prior to the start of the 6:30 p.m. council meeting. When the regular council meeting begins, the sign-in will be cut off.
“We’re going to make them sign, that way we know what’s going on,” he said. “We know what to expect that’s going to be discussed.”
Webster said that the change was discussed during a recent organizational meeting.
“We talked about not having any public comments at all,” he said. “You can do that, because actually, this is a business meeting. It’s not to discuss things like…a personal matter. We’re not going to get in the middle of a family feud or neighbors feud. But I do want people to have a chance to talk.”
Prior to making a decision, the city checked with other cities around the area to see what protocols other municipalities had in place regarding public comments, Webster said.
“Center Point has a sign in sheet and several other cities have sign in sheets,” he said. “Most cities do. They usually set it up to sign in before the meeting. Once the meeting starts, there’s nobody added to it. I think it has already helped us have a little more control over what’s going on.”