PB: Your Voice Is Being Squashed Tonight -- Do You Care?

Jul 15, 2013

UPDATE: Citizens of Poplar Bluff joined together and worked to prevent the City Manager and City Clerk from greatly reducing the impact of the Citizen’s Input portion of the Council meetings. Keep an eye on upcoming agendas over the coming months, I’m afraid we haven’t seen the last of this one.

At the last City Council meeting (video is posted below) the City Manager introduced a new ordinance which will limit the voice a citizen has to their city council. The freedom of expressing your opinion to your city council is being threatened.

Councilman Brannum compared the council to Former Governor of Arkansas, Gov Huckabee, who had an open door policy. Mr Brannum was opposed to the bill.

City Manager Bagby, in defense of the bill, compared city council to the Arkansas Assembly, stating that no one can stand up and address the general assembly uninvited.

I was contacted this morning by Chester Pumphrey who is meeting with a group of concerned citizens at 6:30 prior to tonight’s meeting. You may contact Mr. Pumphrey at 686-7820.

Though the proposed ordinance still allows a citizen to speak at a meeting, he cannot do so freely. A citizen must submit a written request to the Mayor indicating what is to be discussed. The Mayor has the right NOT TO CALL the individual up and if the individual speaks on anything other than requested, he can be silenced. Plus, the amount of time he can speak would be reduced from 10 minutes down to 3 minutes if this bill passes.

I was blessed this morning to receive a call from Mr. Pumphrey and I’m proud to know that others within our community care enough to protect our freedoms, specifically our current freedom to engage City Council without being “pre-processed” by the City Manager and Mayor.

To hear council discuss this proposed bill at the July 1 meeting, watch video starting at the 4 minute mark (thank you to TransparentLocalGov for uploading these videos for us):