Durbin Council lays down rules for meeting etiquette
After a tumultuous June meeting, Durbin mayor Donald Peck informed council and audience members about new rules of the Durbin Council Monday night at its regular meeting.
"I talked with the Municipal League and they told me, 'when the public comes in, if they want to speak, they sign a public comment period [paper],'" Peck said. "[We] can give them any amount of time they want to speak and when they sign their name, they've got to [write] the subject that they are going to speak about.
"Also, there will be no more interruptions in these meetings," he continued. "If there is something on the agenda that refers to a person, they have a right to speak about it, but nobody else. No more whispering in these meetings. If you're asked to be quiet and you do it again, you will be asked to leave. If you don't leave, there will be a policeman here to escort you out."
Councilmember Don Jennings told the mayor that those rules applied to him, as well.
Three of the four people who signed the public comment paper did not write down a subject and were not allowed to speak during the hear callersﾒ portion of the agenda.
Property owner Bill Grimes said he was denied his first amendment rights to speak.
According to the Guide to the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act created by the West Virginia Ethics Commission, governing bodies are not required to allow members of the public to speak at a meeting.
"The purpose of the Open Meetings Act is to allow citizens to observe the governing body for purposes of promoting transparency. However, governing bodies are encouraged to have a public comment period. A governing body may adopt rules which impose restrictions upon public comment periods such as the amount of time which will be allocated to each speaker," according to the guide.
In other action, council:
ﾕ Approved a letter from the Pocahontas County Health Department which requested the council allow the mayor to take action when a sewage issue occurs without first seeking councilsﾒ permission.
ﾕ Accepted a bid from Howard McLaughlin for the town's snow plow blade and snow blower. McLaughlin bid $1.75 on the snow plow blade and $12.75 on the snow blower.
ﾕ Approved allowing Station 2 restaurant to build a trash receptacle to disguise trash cans and to keep cats away. The receptacle will be built on town property.