Palm Beach County Attorney: Don’t ban comment at workshops

Nieman

Nieman

Berger

Berger

Don’t ban public comments at Palm Beach County Commission workshops, County Attorney Denise Nieman has recommended.

 

Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger had made the suggestion on Nov. 17, right after being selected and sworn in for the mostly ceremonial mayor’s post. She also had suggested eliminating the two regular commission meetings a year that are held at night.

Both ideas drew opposition and on Dec. 15, commissioners put things on hold while they asked Nieman to research the ideas.

Nieman wrote commissioners late Thursday to say she’d planned to bring both to next Tuesday’s commission meeting for debate and possible action.

But, she said, on the comment part, “as I attempted to wordsmith an amendment to ensure that the (commission’s) desire for public participation and efficient and effective meetings were both addressed, it became obvious that there are too many scenarios that may be difficult to reconcile with absolutes defining Workshop days. For example, there may be a time when a motion during a Workshop is desirable, at which point public participation may be legally required.”

She added, “my recommendation is to leave the Rules as they are as it pertains to public comment.”

Nieman said the commission can drop the night meetings with a simple vote Tuesday; and “should this or future Boards want to resume evening meetings, a motion is all it would take to make it happen.”