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Charleston Council Changes Citizen Participation Guidelines

 

As Charleston County Administrator Allen O’Neal noted, the Jan. 19 Finance Committee meeting was likely one of the shortest on record.

The explanation was that there was very little on the agenda.

The only thing of note arising from the session was the decision to begin council meetings at 6.30 p.m. instead of 7.

As well, the citizens’ comments session would now be heard at the beginning of the meeting and extend to 30 minutes.

Chairman Teddie Pryor said that the move would be given a 90-day trial and then reviewed as to its effectiveness. Council meetings will still be held on every second and fourth Tuesdays of the month and Finance Committee meetings on the preceding Thursday.

Moving citizen comments from the end to the beginning of council meeting would seem a positive step. In the past, citizens had no opportunity, unless public hearings were scheduled, to comment on many issues until council had voted.

There was no opportunity for a citizen to speak at a Finance Committee meeting and comments at the following council meeting could only be made at the end of the meeting, after had voted on issues before it. Citizens will be better served by the rescheduling.

Warwick Jones is a resident of Charleston and has been involved with a number of area organizations, including the Charleston County Greenbelt Advisory Board and the Preservation Society of Charleston.

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