Metro adopts unified public comment policy

public comment file photo
On Monday, and in an effort to make the policy uniform across all public meetings, the Metro Council voted to match the Moore County School Board’s policy for public comment. (File Photo)

{EDITOR’S NOTE: Based on this policy change, The Times will give citizens the appropriate contact for public comment notification on all future public meetings notices.}

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — On Monday, and at the recommendation of Metro Mayor Sloan Stewart, the Metro Council agreed to follow the lead of the Moore County Board of Education regarding public comment periods at public meetings.

As readers may recall, a new law went into effect on July 1 in Tennessee that changes public comment policy at Metro Council, Moore County Board of Education, Metro Planning Commission, Metro Utility Board and other public meetings that take place here in Lynchburg. Public Chapter No. 300 (PC 300) introduced an important change to the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, otherwise known as the Sunshine Law. It stipulates that every local governing body must “reserve a period for public comment” at every scheduled public meeting to allow members of the general public to be heard on any agenda item. It includes any body which requires a quorum to deliberate on a decision. {To read our full coverage of that change, click here.}

Council matches School Board’s public comment policy

On Monday, Mayor Stewart asked that the Metro Council adopt a public comment policy to match the Moore County Board of Education policy, so that citizens could expect the same format across all Metro meetings.

The Board of Education policy states that there will be “a public comment period for each meeting with actionable items on the agenda.” Those making public comments should be residents of Moore County and their topics will be limited to those listed on the public agenda. The policy also requires those who wish to speak at any public meeting to notify the director of schools, mayor, board chair, or other appropriate contact by no later than 4 p.m. the day of the scheduled meeting.

Each speaker will be given a total of three minutes and the total public comment period should not exceed 30 minutes total. The policy suggests that “delegations shall select only one (1) individual to speak on their behalf.”

To read the Moore County School Board policy relating to Appeals and Appearances Before the Board, follow this link.

{The Lynchburg Times is a nonpartisan community newspaper serving Lynchburg, Tennessee and the surrounding counties. We also provide news and information for the 350,000 folks who come to Lynchburg to visit The Jack Daniel’s Distillery each year. We are dedicated to public service journalism for the greater good of our community. You can support us, by clicking here.}

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