More Time Needed to Speak at Public Meetings, Resident Says
A resident asks the Abington Board of Commissioners to allow more time for public comment.
Is three minutes enough?
Abington resident Paul Morse took to the microphone during last week’s board of commissioners meeting. Setting his own timer, Morse complained about not getting enough time to speak during a meeting in December on the “Wawa ordinance” — a meeting in which he was physically removed by Abington Police.
“I’d like to request the current board of commissioners take into account, starting tonight, that everyone be given sufficient time to present their views … After all, you’re elected to represent we, the citizens of Abington township, not to dictate to us,” Morse said.
[See the video ... it's about three minutes.]
Morse also said that during the December meeting, 10 residents “could have yielded their time” to him, giving him 30 minutes to speak.
The board typically gives residents about three minutes to speak publicly on a topic. But, according to township manager Michael LeFevre, the township’s rules of procedure for meetings — adopted in October 2005 — do not specify the length of time an individual is permitted to speak.
LeFevre also said that the "three-minute rule" is similar other municipalities' guidelines on speaking.
During the meeting last week, commissioner Robert Wachter held up white sheets of paper indicating how much time each resident had left to speak; the role was formerly held by now-president Peggy Myers.