Region 1 board considers public comment
BY RUTH EPSTEIN
FALLS VILLAGE — The Region 1 All Board Chairmen Committee discussed public comment, and how to handle it, at its meeting last week. North Canaan representative Dolores Perotti brought up the subject, noting her board came up with a policy after incidents at meetings where there was a lot of talking back and forth between board members and the audience. She said some meetings got out of control.
Falls Village representative Dominick Caiati said the board should be inviting to the public. He said the board has to use its time efficiently and if concerns are raised they can’t really do anything about it during meetings. Cornwall’s Rebecca Hurlburt said there has to be a distinction between questions and comments.
“You don’t have to answer questions. There’s not supposed to be an exchange.”
Claude Rolo of Salisbury said those with concerns can always put those concerns in writing and the committee can take its direction from what it hears.
Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain said hearings — rather than regular board meetings — are held to allow for discussion.
Andrea L. Downs of Falls Village, chairman of the Region 1 board, said she thinks questions can be answered. “To me if taxpayers have questions they deserve answers.”
She said at those board meetings she has told audience members she would try to answer their questions at the next meeting so they don’t think they are being ignored. “We’ll see how it works.” She said as long as control is maintained and people are respectful she doesn’t see that practice as a bad thing. Sharon’s Electra Tortorella asked members to send examples of practices used to her.