The Sun Sets On Public Comments


The sun came up this morning in the Rim country, just like Payson Mayor Ray Schum predicted at the first town council meeting of the year Thursday evening.
The mayor made the remark in defense of his initiative to move the public comment section of the meeting from the beginning of the agenda to the end, ostensibly so the town can conduct its business first and leave such matters as what the people of Payson think, want and need for later. Quite often, as the case would have been last night, much later.
Before the council voted on the matter, Schum said, "There's been a lot more made out of this than it deserves. Whatever action we take tonight, the sun will still come up tomorrow morning."
Councilmember Ken Murphy looked around at a half-empty room that was filled to near-capacity two hours earlier when the meeting began. Many of those in attendance had left after the protracted debate over a proposed 20-lot subdivision next to Chaparral Pines some because that was the issue they came for, but most because they were too exhausted to care about much of anything after the lawyers got done belaboring the relative merits of land-use plans.
Murphy observed that few members of the audience would be left to comment had that portion of the meeting come at the end.
Then the council made it official, voting 4-3 to approve Schum's request.
Starting Jan. 24, if you have something to say to the council about anything not on the agenda, you will have to wait until the end. Last night's meeting lasted just about three hours.
It may be like the mayor said that the change doesn't really matter all that much. But as an indicator of the town council's priorities, it speaks volumes.
Yes, Mayor Schum, the sun came up this morning just like you said it would. But this is not a bright day for the people of Payson.

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