Officials in Plymouth Twp. proposing new rules for public commen

Officials in Plymouth Twp. proposing new rules for public comments

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PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) - Plymouth Township's board meeting inside city hall Tuesday overflowed with about 200 people demanding they be taken seriously. They protested outside as well.

They are protesting an amphitheater at a township park residents say was secretly approved last fall, only sending neighbors notice in a newsletter afterward.

"These folks didn't know about it until the vote was cast, and when they come back and start voicing their displeasure certain things started happening," says Plymouth Twp. resident Brian Bentley.

Now the township treasurer, Ron Edwards, along with board trustee Nancy Conzelman are proposing new rules of conduct residents say would take away their right to speak up.

"It's a violation of the First Amendment. It's a violation of the Open Meetings Act. It's wrong on so many levels," says Deborah Whyman of Citizens for Accountable Government.

The proposal requires a super majority of 66 percent for a topic to be eligible for the agenda.

"It would take more votes to bring an item just for discussion than it would to actually take action on it," says Bentley.

And Plymouth Township residents say board members don't answer emails or phone calls.

Edwards is not trying to stop public comment but to make it more structured and civil, something many residents say they don't get from him.

"Not too long ago, he tried to beat the bejabbers out of the clerk at a meeting," says Bentley. "These guys want us to take them seriously when they talk about civility and professionalism. You know, they don't lead by example."

Although there was no vote Tuesday, the fact that this amendment is even being considered is enough for most.

And the fact that this is being considered is enough for most.

The board says since they could not agree they will hold a study session next week to go over the proposed changes.

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