Proper protocol needed

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, August 1, 2018


The Charlotte County Planning Commission is working to change the zoning for solar energy systems. Are their deliberations being unduly influenced by the CEO of SolUnesco, an energy company located in Reston, Virginia?

Why does the Commission continue to allow this CEO to speak freely during meetings as if a Commissioner? The appearance is SolUnesco has become the expert the Commission relies on for advice.

SolUnesco stands to benefit financially from the decisions the Commission makes and therefore cannot provide unbiased advice to the Commission. If the Commission needs technical assistance, the County should hire an independent expert with no financial or other interest in the outcome and whose allegiance is to the County.

By comparison, the Chair of the Board of Supervisors properly controls Board meetings. County citizens are allowed to speak three minutes on relevant issues during a public comment period. After that, only the supervisors may speak. No one from the audience is allowed to interrupt at will or jump into the discussion as if a supervisor. Order must be maintained as everyone who speaks during deliberations influences the decision.

If the Commission’s meetings were recorded and posted to the County’s website, as they are the Board of Supervisors meetings, greater transparency would be provided.

Proper process is necessary for the Commission to perform its duties. Commission meetings are not a place for active audience participation. No one from the audience, local citizen or outside expert, should be allowed to interrupt. Only Commissioners should participate in Commission deliberations. If expert assistance is needed, it should come from an independent source rather than from an individual or company likely to be directly affected by the Commission’s decisions.

Terry Ramsey

Charlotte Court House