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Citizens free to speak if rules are followed

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Tom Littrell is chairman of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors

GUEST EDITORIAL

The Carroll County Board of Supervisors does not silence citizens who wish to address the board on any subject of interest to them.
However, the board operates under rules of procedure which are adopted each year at the January organizational meeting.
These rules do not allow a citizen to appear before the board continuing to raise the same issues without new information within a six-month period.
“Citizen comment time” is a permanent agenda item during which citizens may express concerns or ask questions.
During the January citizens’ time, a citizen came before the board to comment on the same subject that he had discussed the previous month.
He was given the opportunity to add new information on the previous matter or address the board on any new issue. He indicated he had no new information.
He was not prohibited from speaking on any other issue or providing new information. From the comments the citizen did make, it appeared he only wished to reiterate his previous remarks.
The issue involves the Carroll County administrator and an alleged conflict of interest that the citizen questioned at the Dec. 14 supervisors’ meeting. Those comments were extensively covered in the Dec. 31 edition of The Gazette.
The board accepted these comments in December and instructed the county attorney to review all pertinent documents including deeds, financial disclosures, minutes of the Carroll County Board of Supervisor’s meeting and the BRCEDA minutes. Subsequently these documents were made available to the citizen as well as The Gazette and The Carroll News.
The board reviewed all the documents and had discussions with the county administrator and the county attorney. It is our collective conclusion there is no evidence of a conflict of interest.
All disclosures were made correctly, openly and completely. We, as a board, are satisfied all requirements were met and we stand behind and unconditionally support our employee, our county administrator.
The board must have rules of procedure so that all citizens have the opportunity to speak, while at the same time not allowing one citizen to appear before the board just repeating information.
We welcome citizen participation and hope citizens will feel free to appear at board meetings.
Each supervisor is always available for citizens to privately discuss concerns or seek help with any problem.