Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Hospital District board adopts public comment procedure

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The Hood County Hospital District board of directors unanimously approved the adoption of a formal procedure for public comments, during a regularly scheduled meeting June 14.

Previously, the board has allowed residents to speak up at any point during meetings, but Precinct 2 Commissioner Nannette Samuelson said she thinks a formal procedure will clear up any confusion regarding when members of the public are allowed to speak.

“The only thing I thought — and people in the public can weigh in on this — is that some people don't know if they can chime in, so if you have a form and a procedure, they know, ‘OK, I just fill out the form and then I can speak on the topic I'm interested in.'” Samuelson said. “I just want people to know when it's appropriate to speak.”

"The times I've sat on this board, I've looked out here and there has been zero people show up to talk,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Kevin Andrews said. “Well, as you can see, there's some interest that has been fostered of late, and I think going ahead and putting the formal procedure in place makes sense.”

Resident Donnie Stone spoke up to explain that having a structure would give residents an opportunity to speak up when it’s appropriate.

"It feels rude to raise our hand,” he said. “I don't want to inject in y'all's conversation just to make a point. ... I mean, you can be flexible with the structure and still allow people to say something if something comes up, because like, for example, in commissioners court, if something's brought up by another speaker, and you haven't filled out a paper, you can't say anything. There's been a lot of times where we may have wanted to say something, but if you're a little bit more flexible with that structure, but still having it there, I think it would be a good idea."

Board President Christy Massey said she is fine with having a paper at the door to allow residents to sign if they wish to speak on an agenda item, but also said community members can still raise their hand if they wish to make a comment.

Samuelson made a motion to adopt the formal procedure for public comment and the motion was seconded by Precinct 4 Commissioner Dave Eagle. The motion passed unanimously.

The next regular meeting of the Hood County Hospital District board will take place Friday, July 26, at noon.