Once again, a Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) supporter is spreading misinformation.
When you have the truth on your side, the facts speak for themselves.
The author of the recent letter in The Westerly Sun, “Charlestown council limits public participation,” (6/25/23) made several false statements.
Fact: The current Council did not initiate a “new” policy, nor did this Council announce a “new” policy. Contrary to what the letter writer claimed, the public comment policy has been in effect for more than 20 years.
Fact: Town Council Rule 6 provides that individuals be given the opportunity to speak at Council meetings for a two-minute duration during the “Public Comment” item on the agenda for items not on the agenda. The policy further states that “the President may permit comment from the floor at an appropriate time of not more than one comment per speaker for a two (2) minute duration if such comment is relative to a specific agenda matter.”
Fact: Rules that have been in existence for more than 20 years are not new.
If anyone is interested in watching years of past meetings, it is obvious that I am very liberal with encouraging public comment.
Fact: The Council president did not, “announce the policy one day later at the Charter Revision Advisory Committee meeting where no public comment is allowed at all.”
Fact: The Charlestown Charter, C-165 states, “All regularly scheduled public meetings held by the Town Council, and all Boards and Commissions will require an agenda item for public comment.” During the last Charter Revision Advisory Committee meeting, I noted that the current Charter does not include “committees” in the list of public bodies that require “public comment.” I did not state a “new policy”; I read from the Charter.
I will note that just because “committee” is not included in that list, that does not prevent a committee from permitting public comment. In fact, the letter writer spoke multiple times during the one Charter Revision Advisory Committee meeting she attended.
Fact: Over the past few years, certain CCA supporters have repeatedly spread misinformation. These individuals do not care about the facts or presenting the truth. Enough already.
Like my fellow Councilor, Stephen Stokes, I also urge you to watch the Council videos on the town’s website, www.charlestownri.gov, and hear the discussion for yourself. If anyone would like to contact me, my email address is Deb.Carney@charlestownri.gov.
Deborah Carney, Charlestown Town Council President
A version of this article appeared at a Letter To the Editor in The Westerly Sun on June 28, 2023.