Public Comment: What Do I Do?

Submitted by CCCL_MichelleK

If you want to speak at a meeting that allows for public comment, here's some best practices: 

  • Check the website of the meeting you'll be attending to find out how to request time on the agenda or how to submit public comment.
  • Bring ideas and possible solutions, not just complaints. It doesn't have to be perfect and it may not be the one that is adopted, but any idea can go a long way in working towards a solution. 
  • Take the opportunity to educate the members on the issue and your perspective on it - they appreciate having more information. They don't have expertise on everything, and you might know a lot more about an issue than they do.

Remember, with social distancing orders due to COVID-19, many meetings are now being hosted online.  This gives more people a chance to participate schedule-wise, especially those with conflicting work or family schedules, or who can't stay late enough for a public comment session if it's at the end of the meeting. However, this also relies on people having the technology and Internet connectivity to participate. In government, it's always important to think of who we might not be hearing from, and why. If people are unable to attend a meeting, it doesn’t mean they care any less about the issues than people who are able. As a government employee, I know that one of my responsibilities is to think of many ways to connect with my community members so that barriers don’t keep them from getting the representation they deserve. 

Thanks for reading! Please vote, and encourage your friends and family to vote too!