On supervisors’ public comment change

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The following are comments I presented to Charlotte County supervisors on Feb. 14.

Over the last several weeks, there has been discussion regarding guidelines for the public comment period of the board of supervisors. Later in today’s meeting, this board will discuss the committee’s proposed guidelines and vote. 

I would like the guidelines to enable anyone to address the board about matters pertaining to county business. I can think of valid reasons why an “outsider” would have pertinent and legitimate items to bring before the supervisors. If you think they can ask for a spot on the agenda, that doesn’t work so well. 

An expert in the field for which he asked to speak requested a three-minute time slot on the agenda of the Heartland Authority meeting and was denied by Authority Chairman Gary Walker, according to the fiscal agent of the authority, R.B. Clark. This person wasn’t even an outsider but a taxpayer in Charlotte County. He could not speak.

The public having a voice is an important tool in government. The voters of Charlotte County elected you seven people to represent them. You make the decisions as to how tax dollars are spent and who will lead the day-to-day operations of the county in the role of administrator. You have been entrusted with a great deal of responsibility and many of your actions will have an effect on generations to come. 

We bring problems to you. I have certainly done that every month for the past year. I have done so because of concerns that I think need your attention. I spend time gathering the facts and try to be objective in my review. 

I am not trying to embarrass anyone, rather, only bring the truth to light. In December, my comments concerned disturbing information regarding the selection of the county’s health insurance agent. If I am right about these issues, in my opinion, the county administrator did not serve this county well in the transaction. 

I believe most of the supervisors — except for one or two — seem unaware of the troubling details.

While it is too late to fix the past, the future is before you, and in order to best serve your constituents, I think you need to make sure this method of operation is changed.

Finally, I would like to hear from you, our supervisors. I rarely hear committee reports from many of you. On important issues, I hear very little discussion. If each of you knew the clear facts on all issues before you, I think I would hear more dialogue.

For example, this month, as in other months, at the end of your board packet, on page 34, there is a list of expenditures for approval entitled “County Utility Invoices Paid after Board Meeting.” One of the line items is for a First Citizens Bank credit card in the amount of $313.29. That doesn’t look like a utility invoice. I hope you will start questioning more.

All citizens need to start asking some hard questions.

Kay Pierantoni  can be reached at kmpierantoni@gmail.com.