The city is in the throes of another election season and it is getting very tense at the council meetings. The citizens in East Ridge deserve elected officials that know how to handle communications from citizens without blowing a gasket! Let’s not forget that some of the council members have a negative attitude toward certain citizens to begin with.
To quote Mayor Brent Lambert at Thursday’s City Council meeting ….”Shame on you.” And, all social media is fake news!
I don’t know why the mayor is so surprised to hear the suggestion that I wanted him to delay the council from voting on certain issues until the new council is seated. I guess he forgot what happened in 2010 as he was about to take the mayor’s seat for the first time.
In 2010, many citizens were complaining that they never get answers to questions asked during the “citizen communication” portion of the council meeting. The outgoing council at that time discussed making citizens submit their questions in writing before the council would give remarks. The 2010 council claimed that that way, the citizens would get a response to the questions at the next council meeting.
One of the newly elected officials in 2010 was Jim Bethune. He called on the outgoing council to not make a decision on having citizens’ questions in writing until after the new officials were sworn in to serve East Ridge on the City Council. The new officials should be able to give their input on the matter.
Hence my comments at the September 13, 2018 City Council meeting. I called on Mayor Lambert to delay/abstain his voting privileges until he is out of office on December 10, 2018.
What if there is a discussion talking about ending the citizen “question and answer” session altogether? Even though that right was chiseled into the City Charter after the last Charter Study Commission concluded, some on the council may not know that.
It would seem that the citizens have been pushed around by its elected officials for many years. If we are trying to get questions addressed, why should they be submitted ahead of time? That only supports that our questions might not be considered important to some of the council and they needed time to come up with something to say about it.
Does a judge ask for a statement from a criminal ahead of time? In a debate, do you give your notes to the opponent ahead of time? Before a job interview, does the employer give the questions to the applicant? Before a test in school, does the teacher send you home with a copy of the test to study?
The city has a history of “accidentally” passing something that is not in line with state law and then later reports that they need to vote on something to fix it before we get caught! Of course they don’t word it like that but you get my drift, right?
This happened when we only had five people on the Library Board when state law requires seven. The library board operated outside of state law for years. It happened when there was a proposal to lend $200,000 to the East Ridge High School Alumni Association, only later finding that state officials said there was no provision in state law to allow such a move.
The city doesn’t do anything just because…..there is a reason behind everything they do and do it in the name of citizens, but we are not that misguided. As I have said in the past, May 3, 2018 showed how much the citizens DO care about the city!
_ Laura Mathis