YUMA, AZ - Your right on when you can voice your opinion during a Yuma City Council Meeting is stirring up new debate.
The city wants to move the Call to the Public from the top of the agenda to the end of each council meeting.
City Administrator Greg Wilkinson says changing the city's call to the public would still allow citizens to voice their concerns on important agenda items that require a vote by the council. But Yuma Mayor Al Krieger says moving it would silence the voice of the people. Krieger says city leaders owe it to citizens to listen to their concerns during the council's Call to the Public, even when they sound-off on issues not listed on the agenda.
"I don't know why we would have people sign up for Call to the Public at the beginning of the meeting and make them sit through the entire meeting, sometimes the meetings run long, sometimes they don't, to have a 2 or 3 or 5 minute statement," said Krieger.
However, Wilkinson denies moving the council's Call to the Public will silence citizens. Instead, Wilkinson says streamlining speakers will keep meetings more orderly to give voice first to those who want to share their opinions on items the council will take action on immediately.
He says residents proposed the change. "What they requested is that they take care of city business that scheduled at the agenda and give the call of the public towards the end. Future business and different thing like that someone wants us to look at we can address those at the end," said Wilkinson.
Still, Mayor Krieger says residents should always be given the chance to speak first at the council meetings because the taxpayers concerns need to be heard all at once.
"We ought to be listening to the public and taking they're advice, criticism, whatever it is, these are the people we work for and pay taxes," said Krieger.
Wilkinson disagrees. "This is really about the order, it really doesn't infringe upon on anybody's ability to do the call of public," he said.
The proposal to move the city council's Call to the Public to the end of each meeting will be introduced during this Wednesday's council meeting.
If passed, the changes will take effect next month.
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