Public meetings

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 10, 2005

Last week’s Suffolk City Council’s work session makes it clear that council once again needs a lesson in the concept of public meetings.

During a discussion of the proposed takeover of city road maintenance from the Virginia Department of Transportation, officials talked about a need to show a united front on the issue, to convince residents of what a good idea this is.

Here it goes: You hold public meetings such as those on the road proposal to solicit public input prior to making a decision on how to solve a problem, the theory being that the more information you receive, and differing viewpoints to which you are exposed, the better you will be able to make a decision.

Email newsletter signup

You don’t announce a solution and then solicit input. It’s a sure recipe for what council members said Wednesday they wanted to avoid – situations like that at the meeting last month in Whaleyville at which residents were vocal in opposition to it.

If they’ve already made the decision, council should stop wasting their time and the public’s and move forward.

– AP