Council Faces Another Public Comment Fiasco

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Mayor Ray Schum and the other members of the Payson Town Council were in an expansive mood during last Thursday's meeting.

When a group of educators from Frontier Elementary School read the agenda wrong and showed up too early to receive a proclamation then had to rush back to the school to attend another event the mayor and council agreed to build the meeting around their return.

On more than one occasion, one or another council member would glance nervously at his watch and suggest an agenda deviation to make sure the proclamation would be presented to the folks from FES before a scheduled executive session.

But all the while, sitting heavily on the agenda like a big plate of green eggs and ham, was the public comment section of the meeting recently moved to the end of the agenda by a council that wanted to make sure it conducted business before giving citizens their voice. Only now, it had been moved from the end of the regular meeting to after the executive session when all sane people are home in bed and nobody is left standing but the bleary-eyed media.

Talk about adding insult to injury. The council might as well just schedule public comment for the parking lot after the meeting is over.

The mayor relented at the last minute and allowed the two people with public comments to address the council before the executive session. But it was too little, too late especially in light of the fuss made to accommodate the group from FES.

While we believe that reading is an essential skill for informed citizens in a democratic society, so is free speech. Once again, the council has egg on its face over an issue that just refuses to go away. The only difference is that this time, it's green.

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