Politics & Government

Macon council will consider new rules for public comment

A Macon City Council committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday and talk about whether the council should change the way it hears public comments.

Currently, almost anyone who signs up beforehand can take five minutes to address the council before it gets into the meat of its council meetings. Many people who comment are regulars, and they frequently stray into areas that the council has little to no power over.

A proposed change would still allow people to comment on a range of issues, but it would move those who want to discuss things that aren’t on the council’s evening agenda to the end of the meeting. It would also limit them to three minutes each. Those wishing to speak on specific agenda items would get five minutes each near the beginning of the meeting.

Councilwoman Nancy White, one of the sponsors of the potential new comment rules, said the council has to strike “a delicate balance” between protecting free speech and keeping meetings professional.

Councilman Charles Jones said he’ll resist any changes. “We work for (the public). They don’t work for us,” he said. The potential changes will be discussed Wednesday by the council’s Rules Committee, which White chairs. The meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. at City Hall.