Weinger argued that the policy of allowing five minutes for agenda items and then another five for any governmental issue was not in the best interest of residents nor transparency. He stated that the policy was both arbitrary and capricious and left residents "muted."
Mayor David Amlen told Weinger that the limit had been set to reflect the best interest of proceedings, and added that the policy ensured that meetings were not dominated by one individual. He also said that he did not believe that the agendas were "overly burdensome" as to require additional comment time.
Weinger asked Amlen how many resolutions had come before the committee thus far this year. Amlen said their were over 220. When given his one minute warning, Weinger said he was using his time "judiciously."
While the Springfield resident is advocating for more time, the City of Peekskill, New York recently reduced the allotted public comment time from five minutes to three minutes after a September council meeting ended in a near-brawl, according to an ABC News report. Additionally, the Westchester County council determined that calling out from the gallery would result in immediate expulsion from council chambers.
Nearby Westfield allows residents 10 minutes to speak, while in Madison the public has three minutes to comment before the council.
Do you feel five minutes is fair? Would you rather see the time limit increased or decreased?