Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pleasant Prairie: A good idea needs a little tweaking.

Pleasant Prairie gadfly Bob Babcock laments in a letter to the Kenosha News the Pleasant Prairie Village Board's decision to move comments by board members to the end of the meeting agenda.

It's something that should have been done long ago.

For two years the raucous nature of village board meetings and political oneupsmanship games often meant that too much precious time was being taken up at the beginning of board meetings with trustees banging up on each other. That doesn't happen in the City of Kenosha where aldermen's comments are at the end of the agenda.

The people's views and the people's business should come first.

What needs tweaking, however, is that it shouldn't be inappropriate for a board member to respond to a specific point raised by a citizen at the beginning of a meeting.

Often people will come in to inform the board about specific problems. It shouldn't be inappropriate for a board member to ask some brief questions to clarify the issue or to respond, even if it's with a pledge to "look into it."

The key word is "brief."

As long as it isn't used as a bully pulpit, there's nothing wrong with brief interaction when it serves the public's interest.

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