Don’t muzzle public input in Haywood

To the Editor:

As citizens of Haywood County, we would like to call your attention to some proposals that the Haywood County commissioners have put forth which we find potentially dangerous. 

1. The proposal to limit speaking time in front of the commission as an all-inclusive restriction (30 minute time limit for all speakers total), we find somewhat worrisome. The commissioners serve at our vote; hence, they work for us. No smart business owner wants workers who refuse to listen to how he/she wants the business run  Can you see an employee telling his/her boss, “I’ll give you three minutes to tell me what you think is important to you, then get outta my face?” If there are serious issues, more time is going to be needed.

2. What is “serious” to us citizens may be a far cry from what the commissioners think is serious. We need to be heard, and they need to be willing to listen, weigh our thoughts, advice, wishes and then vote accordingly; not make up their minds before we speak to them about our concerns.

3. Limiting speakers to “discuss matters within the jurisdiction of the oard” gives way too much discretionary and hidden power to the commissioners as we’ve just seen with the health board matters and also regarding the Haywood Community College Board. We need the county commissioners to be open to any and all issues regarding the safety and quality of our lives in Haywood County.

4. Basically our concern is accountable, open and transparent governing. It seems that a move is afoot to undermine some valuable Constitutional principles. We want to see that such an effort, no matter how it is disguised, doesn’t happen.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns.

Ed and Carolyn Underwood


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