Public comment request at Sturgeon Bay city council gets watered down
January 02, 2018 02:11 pm
By Roger Utnehmer
The refusal of Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham to allow public comments at council meetings came closer to being overturned Tuesday. Birmingham ended the long-standing practice in December.
Council member Laurel Hauser, an advocate of open government, asked that the period of public comment at the beginning and end of each meeting be restored. Rather than support Hauser’s proposal, council member David Ward suggested the council and mayor “consider” implementing a 30-minute public comment period at the start of each meeting.
Even the proposal to simply “consider” public comment was opposed by council member Stewart Fett. He was the only vote against the suggestion by Ward.
Birmingham said he’s “evaluating” giving the public the right to speak at council meetings in the future.
Most public comments in recent years have been critical of Birmingham and the council majority.
Hauser said that, as a council member, she thinks it’s important to a democracy to have public input.