By Max Hrenda
Applause boomed, tempers flared, a citizen was removed, and through it all, members of the public waited Tuesday evening to tell their commissioners how they felt about certain issues.
One of those issues was County Mayor Leon Humphrey’s veto of a resolution to move supervision of the Carter County Landfill from his office to the county’s Landfill Committee, a veto commissioners rejected in 13-7 vote.
Two commissioners abstained.
But regardless of the issue at hand, the subject of public comment was a constant from beginning to end of the Carter County Commission meeting.
Since October 2011, the public comments portion of the meeting has been placed near the end of commission meetings.
“You quell my voice by making me wait until the end, after you make your decision,” said Anthony Townsend. “You shouldn’t have that right, but you got away with it.”
Since that time, at least one commissioner has attempted, through either a motion or discussion, to move public comments ahead of public policy debates.
To date, none of these efforts have succeeded.
The first item on the commission’s agenda dealt with voting on Humphrey’s veto. When a citizen asked if the gallery could comment, Commission Chairman Tom Bowers told him they could not.