One would assume that elected officials would want to make sure they are receiving public input throughout the time a major course of action is being examined. Having verifiable facts, in addition to a range of views for consideration produces better political and economic outcomes. But the town of Elkton creates significant challenges for stakeholders hoping to offer constructive comments for they do not detail what will be considered at workshops.
This evening we checked Elkton’s agenda to see when those meetings are scheduled. There are two (Oct 7 & Oct. 8), but there is nothing to let an interested person know what the commissioners plan to consider during those sessions. That seems like a strange way to do the public’s business so we wondered if that was a normal practice in other municipal governments.
To answer that query we surfed over to Chesapeake City’s virtual home on the web. Notice the town of Chesapeake City publishes a comprehensive detailing of items under discussion. They also include time for public input, something Elkton does not do at its workshop. (See images of workshop agenda below.)
Workshops in Elkton are unique for in those elected officials discuss items and determine if there’s support for moving ahead with a straw vote. If there is, it’s brought up at the regular meeting so a formal vote can be entered into the record. The presentation of information, fact-finding, deliberation, negotations and other things citizens would find helpful for understanding the topic, were explored at a session that does not allow for public participation. At the regular meeting, the one time a month when the public is allowed to comment for 5-minutes when everything is over, it’s essentially a done deal. Surely the commissioners know what they’re meeting for don’t they? Why not share that insight to make it easier for the public to montior the deliberations?