Policies

Public Comment Policy

Mitchell County Commission
Adopted February 12, 2024

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In order to provide for the smooth and efficient conduct of public business, the rules for the conduct of public comment during regular meetings are as follows:

 

  1. At a monthly, regularly scheduled meeting, the Board of County Commissioners will provide a time for public comment to receive citizen input and concerns.
  2. The time allotted for all comments from the public shall be thirty (30) minutes, and the maximum time allotted for any individual to make comments shall be three (3) minutes. No individual may speak more than once. The Board of County Commissioners may, either in the discretion of the Chair or by a majority vote of the members actually in attendance and not excused from voting, increase or decrease these time periods or, if all other persons have spoken, permit any individual to speak longer than their allotted time or more than once, based upon various factors, such as: the length of the meeting agenda; the time required to address the normal business on the agenda; whether a closed session is scheduled; whether one or more of the members are unable to remain past a certain time; or any such other reasonable grounds to alter the time provided for public comment. Any person signed up to speak at public comment who is not reached due to time constraints shall be given priority at the next public comment period.
  3. Before any meeting including a public comment period is called to order, any individual may request to speak during the period by registering on the sign-up sheet located on the information desk at the meeting room. Sign-up sheets will be available one (1) hour prior to the start of each meeting.
  4. Individuals must print their name and address on the signup sheet. This allows the County to follow up with the individual if additional information is needed or requested.
  5. In addition to verbal comments, citizens may submit written comments for review and consideration by the board.
  6. The County Clerk shall reject any written requests which are not fully completed and shall mark all fully completed requests with a number corresponding to the order in which it was received.
  7. During that portion of the meeting designated for public comment, the Chair shall recognize the individuals who wish to speak in the numerical order shown on the sign-up sheet provided by the County Clerk.
  8. Individuals providing comment during the public comment period are permitted to express their concerns or opinions about any matter under discussion or share facts, data, or other information which may assist the Board in its deliberation, or on any subject within the Board’s real or apparent jurisdiction, but they should not: ask questions of the Board, County officers or employees; discuss matters in current or anticipated litigation; advertise or promote the sale of products, services, or private enterprise; make personal attacks on the members of the Board or any other persons; make campaign speeches; comment upon matters which are not pertinent to a subject within the Board’s real or apparent jurisdiction; or generally expound on matters which are wholly unrelated and irrelevant to the Board’s real or apparent jurisdiction.
  9. Speakers shall address the Board with any and all public comments. Comments, questions, jeering, or other interruptions from the audience are not allowed. Speakers shall likewise not address or respond to members of the audience.
  10. Insults, profanity, use of vulgar language or gestures, or other inappropriate behavior are not allowed.
  11. Signs, video presentations, and audio presentations are not permitted.
  12. Upon being called to the podium by the Chair, individuals providing comment during the public comment period shall state: (1) their name; and (2) whether their residence lies within Mitchell County.
  13. The County Manager shall keep time for each individual and for the total time of the public comment period.
  14. The Board will not engage in a dialogue during public comment or take action on an item during public comment. The Board may refer the matter to the County Manager, the County Attorney, or another appropriate individual for investigation, action, or for future report back to the Board.
  15. All individuals in attendance shall be prohibited from exhibiting any type of signage while the meeting is ongoing.
  16. The Chair, or presiding officer, has the authority to enforce the Mitchell County Public Comment Policy and address any disruption of the meeting. Failure to follow the requirements of this policy may result in the forfeiture of any remaining speaking time and removal from the meeting. Any person so removed shall not be allowed to participate in public comment before the Board, except by written comment, for a period of one calendar year.
  17. The Board will not restrict speakers based on the subject-matter of their remarks, as long as their comments are within the scope of this policy and are presented consistent with community standards for decency and decorum.