Public comment at Commissioner meetings was the first item of business addressed at the Nov. 9 Glacier County Commissioners’ meeting in Browning.
“Anyone can make a public comment, but it’s not for the public to tell us what to do or how to run a meeting,” stated Chairwoman Mary Jo Bremner. She said she was typing up a list of rules that she would send to the other Commissioners to review and change as needed.
Chairwoman Bremner pointed out in all the board meetings she’d previously attended; the rules of public participation were read and/or posted before the meeting began.
She suggested that folks who have “extensive” comments to make could submit them in writing, or they could read their comments as long as they stayed within a two-minute time limit. She said the limit could be extended if the Commissioners were given prior notice.
Commissioner DesRosier said there should be a “category, in a sense, for the public to address issues they have. Sometimes they come in not knowing about the meeting, and they introduce ideas more than public comments.”
When dealing with agenda items, DesRosier said the Commissioners should discuss the item and make a decision, then ask for public comments either agreeing or disagreeing with that decision, or asking for clarification.
“But questioning the Board is not allowed in other meetings I’ve been to,” he said. “Any complaints should go to department heads and not before the board. It should be limited, and no attacks should be allowed. We can argue among ourselves, but not with the public.”
Commissioner John Overcast said the Commissioners should be able to disagree before making a decision “as long as the public gets to say yes or no ahead of the vote…and when people submit questions, they need clear answers.”
Chairwoman Bremner concluded by saying she would get her ideas to the other Commissioners in the next couple days.
In the only other business conducted, the Commissioners approved having a wrecked Sheriff’s vehicle posted on the County website for bids. Chairwoman Bremner explained the truck was considered “totaled” by the insurance company, which paid it off.
Local resident Jeff Hoyt had expressed interest in purchasing the truck to the Sheriff, and Bremner suggested looking into MCA rules about disposing of property to “get it off the lot.”
Commissioner DesRosier noted the county could either solicit bids or hold a public auction. He said the county hadn’t ever had enough disposable property to make a public auction worthwhile.
While he suggested listing it for bid in the newspaper, Human Resources Director Mike Kittson noted the vehicle could be listed for bid through a system already set up on the county website. In the end, they decided to use a newspaper listing to refer folks to the website where they can bid on items while notifying Hoyt about the move.
To read the complete article, pick up a copy of this week’s issue or subscribe to the Cut Bank Pioneer Press, Shelby Promoter, Browning Glacier Reporter and The Valierian newspapers at http://www.cutbankpioneerpress.com/site/services/