by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
I came across this piece from Port City Daily, and the headline caught my eye: This man wants to change the way New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners hear public comments.
It turns out that the point of concern is a simple one. Currently, the time allocated to public comments is at the end of meetings, which means that anyone wanting to participate has to sign in at the beginning and then wait through maybe hours of meeting. Dante Murphy, president of the Pender County NAACP, thinks it would make more sense to move those comments to the beginning of the meeting. He argues that would make it easier for more citizens to be involved and have their voices heard.
I tend to think he’s probably right. Local governments should take steps to be more accessible and transparent, and they should do simple things that make it easier for people to bring comment to meetings. This seems like a pretty easy change and one that could help engage citizens. New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners, should consider it.