Tim Niles is a founding member of Livable Raleigh and has been a resident of Raleigh for over 30 years.
At the February 7, 2023 City Council meeting he delivered these public comments:
Today I will address issues from your recent retreat.
ON HYBRID MEETINGS
Your discussion of hybrid meetings focused on boards and commissions and their members asking to hold their meetings virtually for their convenience.
You didn’t have a full discussion of the legality of allowing residents to deliver public comments to city council both in-person and by phone based on their needs.
This is NOT about councilors being able to attend vitually. NOT about quasi-judicial boards. And, NOT about commissions needing access to meeting space with technology.
It’s about one issue.
Is it legal for a resident to call into an in-person council meeting to deliver a comment in real time while another resident appears in-person to deliver a comment?
If you say it is legal for a resident to call in by phone, leave a voicemail comment and have that comment played to the public during a live meeting, it defies all logic that you also claim it is illegal for that same person to call in by phone during a meeting and deliver the same comment live.
ON CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS
Councilor Melton mentioned his support for 4-year terms for council.
It’s important for you and the public to be aware that The Study Group created by City Council to review election related issues conducted a survey to gather the opinions of residents. The survey was performed both online and in-person. It was run by the Community Engagement Department and the results with over 1,260 respondents showed that 73% OPPOSE 4-YEAR TERMS.
I think we all understand just how HUGE that number is. It’s not even close. If you defy those numbers, you might as well tell people that your support for engagement is nothing more than window dressing.
ON 4×4 MEETINGS
Mayor Baldwin suggested you discuss items you want to include in your legislative agenda in a 4×4 meeting. Also called a Manager’s Briefing.
4×4 meetings are two back-to-back meetings where only 4 councilors attend at a time.
4×4 meetings are not held in public, not recorded for viewing by the public and no minutes are published.
These meetings are designed to avoid a quorum, to circumvent open meeting laws and to obstruct public scrutiny in order to discuss topics in secret which do not qualify to be discussed in a closed session.
If you need to discuss an issue, be brave enough to do it in public view.
I’m happy to hear any justification you may have for meeting secretly and yield back my time for your response.
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