Silver Lake to soften some aspects of new comment procedure

silver-lake-VHSilver Lake Village Board members appear to be ready to soften some aspects of a new audience participation procedure first introduced at last week’s regular Village Board meeting.

Discussion at a Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday among five board members (Trustees Cyndy Schwebke and a Barb Ironside were absent) seemed to agree on a consensus to adjust language of the procedure to allow people who did not sign up for comments to still speak and for audience members to be able to speak later in the meeting if acknowledged by the person running the meeting, typically the village president. Board members also discussed adding a statement to the beginning of meetings that says personal attacks from the audience will not be tolerated.

Trustee Soti Wilber proposed changes to the procedures for citizen comments last week to address what she said had become meetings that at times were not orderly and made following comments — from the audience or the among board members — difficult at times.

Trustee Patrick Dunn said he was in favor of restricting citizen comments only to the period at the beginning of meetings. The rest of the meetings was for board members to discuss issues among themselves, he said.

“The meetings have got to the point that they are chaotic,” Dunn said. “We are supposed to be discussing the motion, not the public.”

But the other board members seemed to be in favor of allowing some comment at other points of meetings — within reason.

The board also discussed Wilber’s proposed requirement of signing up at the beginning of meetings in order to be able to speak during citizens comments. Most board members said they felt the sign-up should not be a hard and fast rule — for example some people might arrive too late to sign-up — and Wilber agreed to allow those not signed up to comment after those that signed up have had their turn.

Wilber said she would incorporate the suggestions and distribute a new proposal to board members before next week’s regular board meeting.

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Silver Lake considering policy governing audience participation at meetings




  1. Bernard Punsley says:

    The madness continues! Last week’s outbursts from the gallery were incredible.Mudslingin’ Sue needs a titanium gavel…she can pound it all she wants..nobody’s listening! Trustee Dunn is absolutely correct, the BOARD convenes to conduct village business. The “tea party” zealot mentality adopted by some in the audience undermines the Board’s ability to conduct that business. Citizens comments should be allowed at a designated time, then let the board conduct their business. I was personally embarassed by the spectacle put on by the whiners. Not only has Sue Gerber lost complete control of the meeting process, she can’t even control her own Fan Club members whining and snivelling in the audience. Perhaps an appropriate alternative would be to hand out crying towels and baby pacifiers to citizens as they enter the meeting hall. What does this type of behavior say about our village, when the Police Chief’s presence is now required to maintain decorum? We should be able to “agree to disagree”.

  2. Bernard Punsley says:

    After further reflection, I suggest that the Citizen’s Comments agenda item be renamed “Citizen’s Chaos” instead. This would much more accurately reflect the zoo-like atmosphere coming from the audience. Sadly, the “disgruntled dissenters” stifle any comments that may not align with theirs. Folks should be able to express their views without fear of reprisal from the “cat-callers”. Sue Gerber should be wearing a black top hat and coat-tails to prevail over the circus she is running. Like it or not, her predecessor knew how to run a public meeting professionally and tactfully. He would never have allowed the Board members to be subject to the ridicule and rudeness that the “mob mentality” that currently permeates the meetings. While passion for an issue is commendable, a return to civility is in order here. To quote the late Rodney King ..”people, can’t we all just get along here”?!

  3. Joe says:

    I’m beginning to think the only way to shut everyone up is have no comments at all! Put everyone in a room with a CCTV and let them fight each other. Let the comments come in on a card, and the board will discuss them that way. The entire village is comprised of loud mouth hooligans who think because they’ve lived here their whole life, what they say matters. Its time to move on to new ways of conducting business in Silver Lake. Obviously the current way isn’t working!

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