Lower Frederick Approves Rules For Comments

Lower Frederick Approves Rules For Comments

The township flag (at top) as displayed Tuesday in the municipal building

LOWER FREDERICK PA – Although they haven’t changed since being informally adopted weeks ago, written rules that govern how the public interacts with the Lower Frederick Board of Supervisors during its general and workshop meetings were officially, and unanimously, approved Tuesday night (Jan. 30, 2018).

A draft copy of the rules had been discussed during earlier board meetings; the guidelines on which they’re based were suggested by board Chairman Bob Yoder. Citing earlier controversies over certain board agenda items, Yoder acknowledged the meeting room in the municipal building at 53 Spring Mount Rd. can occasionally become disorderly.

“This is just a way to maintain some control, to keep things in check,” Yoder said of the rules before the board vote. “It’s important we get stuff done in a timely way.” Board Vice Chairman Terry Sacks and Supervisor Marla Hexter agreed.

The rules in part specify that speakers:

  • Understand their comments are being audio recorded for future transcription to create board minutes;
  • Must raise their hand to be called upon, and be recognized by the chair or acting chair;
  • Must identify themselves by full name and address of residence;
  • Provide 5 printed copies of all materials to be distributed among three board members, Tobias, and the minutes;
  • Will be given 2 minutes to speak, which can be extended by the chair or acting chair for up to 5 minutes;
  • Limit their comments to agenda items; and
  • Understand that time to comment on items not on appearing the agenda can be offered only at the end of the board meeting.

Township Manager Kevin Tobias said the complete rules will be published soon on the township website.

In an earlier and separate discussion before the vote, Hexter sought to ensure there were procedures by which the public could add items for discussion to the board agenda. Tobias assured her they existed, although some in the audience said they were unaware of how the process worked.

That’s simple, Tobias answered: let him know of the topic a week or more in advance of a meeting, he’ll consult supervisors for their OK, and then time for an approved topic can be scheduled. Yoder reminded listeners scheduling will depend “on the number of requests we receive, and what else is going on.”

One meeting visitor immediately put Tobias’ steps to an acid test. He asked for time to talk about regional policing at the board’s Feb. 6 (Tuesday) meeting.

He got it, too.

Related (to the Lower Frederick Board of Supervisors’ Jan. 30 meeting):

Photo by The Post Publications