Sunday, May 3, 2015

Solution to “We Can’t Respond” During Visitors Section

It is tough to understand at first, how the city council will sit there and not respond to “visitors” during the visitors section of the council. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened. We are just here to listen, in others words, a one way “dialogue” as they call it. That is not true effective communication..

Not surprisingly, the council has never suggested how to work around this. They should have. It appears they do not want people to know there is a work around. So, here it is

It can be found in an AG opinion Number JC-0169 dated January 24, 2000:

The relevant part of the opinion is “… We caution that the use of "public comment" or similar term will not provide adequate notice if the governmental body is, prior to the meeting, aware, or reasonably should have been aware, of specific topics to be raised. If, for example, a governmental body is apprised in advance that members of a particular neighborhood association will be present to comment on drainage problems, it must insure that its notice is tailored to its prior knowledge. See Cox Enterprises, 706 S.W.2d 956…”

Chances are, if you have a problem you want addressed by the council, there are other citizens that have the same problem. So having it posted on the agenda gives others a change to come forward and have a real dialogue with the council members in public, not just a one way dialogue.

Using this opinion, each and every citizen can get an item put on the agenda that is a concern to them.

Let’s hope we have some more effective council meetings where the excuses” I cannot respond to you during the visitors section” becomes a thing of the past. Communication has to go both ways to be effective.




  1. Perhaps it should be renamed "gripe" section and forget about the notion of visiting.

  2. The "dia" part of dialogue means two. "Logue" means words. So, the word "dialogue" means two or more people exchanging words.

  3. Mayor Mascara should be shown that definition. To her dialogue mean you talk, I won't respond.