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Council to permit public comment at workshop meetings

By Staff | Nov 17, 2009

Cape Coral residents will now have more time and opportunities to speak their minds at City Hall.
City council members decided at Monday night’s meeting to extend the public comment period from 30 minutes to 45 minutes and opened up workshop meetings for public comment.
The extended period applies to the consent and administrative agendas.
Previously, public comment was taken only during council’s voting meetings, held every other week.
The change was suggested by new Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz, who campaigned, in part, on renewing trust between residents and government.
“The long-term goal would be better communication, and a better report with our citizens and understanding of their needs,” he said.
Another suggestion by Chulakes-Leetz that was shot down by council was the idea of an additional meeting every week on Wednesdays. It would have been in addition to council’s regular Monday meetings.
Chulakes-Leetz thought the additional meeting would have been beneficial in tackling large issues like the utilities expansion project.
Councilmember Eric Grill said the Wednesday meetings could become cumbersome and interfere with council preparing for its Monday meetings.
He added that there is also a lack of a large number of major issues.
“We don’t need to schedule a meeting every Wednesday because I’m not sure we have that many large issues,” Grill said. “We can set a special meeting any time.”
Another meeting change that was shot down by council was a proposal by new Councilmember Kevin McGrail, who suggested that council should meet Tuesdays when Monday meetings fall on holidays.
He thought losing an entire meeting because of a holiday is a hindrance to council.
Also Monday, citizen activist and self-proclaimed “ambassador for the people” Erick Kuehn gave out four awards of his own making.
Councilmembers Pete Brandt and Bill Deile received Kuehn’s “Give a Hoot Award,” while Mayor John Sullivan and citizen activist Lynn Rosko received the “Humble Pie” award.
All awards were presented on engraved plaques.