Nacogdoches City Council to consider adding open forum to meetin - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches City Council to consider adding open forum to meetings

Currently, individuals can speak before the council on agenda posted items only and when invited to the podium by the mayor.  (Source: KTRE Staff) Currently, individuals can speak before the council on agenda posted items only and when invited to the podium by the mayor. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Nacogdoches City Council member Shelley Brophy is proposing an open forum policy in Tuesday night’s city council meeting. (Source: KTRE Staff) Nacogdoches City Council member Shelley Brophy is proposing an open forum policy in Tuesday night’s city council meeting. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Mayor Roger VanHorn doesn’t deem the policy necessary, but doesn’t see any downside. (Source: KTRE Staff) Mayor Roger VanHorn doesn’t deem the policy necessary, but doesn’t see any downside. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Brophy researched the open forum policy in other cities before presenting a proposal to the full council. (Source: KTRE Staff) Brophy researched the open forum policy in other cities before presenting a proposal to the full council. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

The idea of allowing future open forums before each Nacogdoches City Council meeting will be considered Tuesday by council members.

Typically, prior to a vote, Mayor Roger VanHorn invites public comment on that particular agenda item. Council member Shelley Brophy's policy proposal concerns something different. She proposes adding an open forum to the agenda.

"This is more of a freedom of speech issue, and it will provide some of our citizenry with the ability to address the council as a whole,” said Shelley Brophy, a Nacogdoches City Council member.

Up to five individuals can each speak up to three minutes as long as there's no shouting or cursing. In addition, one can deliberate the topic.

Should the open forum concept pass and people are allowed to step up to the podium to speak they can only deliver a message. No vote can be taken because the topic is not an agenda item.

"I don't think it's necessary, but I don't think there is a downside to it,” said Nacogdoches Roger VanHorn.

Yet, the mayor is somewhat more receptive to the idea.
 
"If this is one avenue that will increase their input, make the citizens feel like they're being heard, than there's no downside to that,” VanHorn said. My thinking is, it's not because we are not transparent. We are very transparent."

"We have a very responsive council. I don't think that's at issue at all, but sometimes some people would like to share their ideas or concerns with the council as a whole and on record,” Brophy said.

Brophy and the mayor say an open forum policy can be tweaked or even eliminated if in the future the policy doesn't deem to be productive. That too should bring some people with an opinion to the podium. 

The Nacogdoches City Council will discuss the proposed open forum policy Tuesday. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in city council chambers.

Copyright 2016 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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