Ask the editor: How can I speak at a public meeting?

Hand of a man raised in the air during a voting procedure

Hand of a man raised in the air during a voting procedure

One of the most important parts of my job here at Community Impact Newspaper is attending public meetings throughout the month to make sure our paper includes the most up-to-date news.

Arguably one of the most interesting parts of any meeting is the public comment portion. During this time, residents have the chance to speak up about issues and concerns in their neighborhoods.

However, there are a few rules for most meetings:

Sign up before the meeting;

Have a written statement, if needed;

Be mindful of time—most comment periods are limited to 2-3 minutes per person;

Be aware that the council or board may not be permitted to comment or answer any questions; and

While officials cannot answer directly, resident feedback helps shape future agendas.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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