The District has announced a new procedure for public participation at board meetings.
It was published with the announcement for the Tuesday, November 10, 2020 board meeting. It reads:
"As the meeting is being held in person, the Board will return to the standard process for Public Participation. The Board sets aside a maximum of 30 minutes (15 minutes at the beginning and 15 minutes prior to the end of the public portion of the meeting). As each speaker is allotted three minutes, Public Participation will be limited to the first 10 people who sign up to speak (five during the first Public Participation and five during the second Public Participation). The sign-up to speak will open at 5 p.m. and close at 6 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the lobby of R2i2."
Why is it faulty?
1. If someone wishes to attend the meeting in person, he must arrive early and well before the 5:00PM starting time of the Installation Ceremony. Seating will be limited and on a first-come, first-seated basis. This person will be IN the room, in his seat, and unable to sign up, because the sign-up sheet will be outside the room in its usual place.
If the early bird leaves the room to sign up, will he be locked out when someone takes his seat?
2. Fifteen glorious meetings are set aside out of what is often a 2-3 hour meeting for the first Public Participation session, and fifteen minutes are allocated in the second half.
Time could be saved by calling out the names of the first three speakers, such as "The first speaker will be (Name), followed by (Name) and (Name). Be ready to step to the podium when the speaker ahead of you finishes." Then, "The next speaker is (Name), followed by (Name) and (Name).
Now the District is going to "let" five (only) people speak in the first segment and five in the second.
What is 15 people wanted to speak and each took only one minute? If a speaker talked as quickly as Mrs. Roof reads, he could say a lot in one minute and step aside for the next speaker. Then the board would get a big earful.
Why does the board make the second five speakers sit there and twiddle their thumbs while they plod through the meeting? Why not make the 30-minute Public Participation segment in one continuous block?
Perhaps future meetings won't be 2-3 hour marathons. November 10 will be James Shadd's last meeting as a trustee and as Board Chair. If the Board is wise enough (assuming it actually follows state law), will it elect a new Board Chair who is organized and methodical and who will keep the board on-task?