Dayton City Commissioner Darryl Fairchild this week called for a review of public comment rules at commission meetings after a citizen’s tirades against another audience member and speaker, and heated exchanges between the two.
“I just want to make sure that everyone feels respected and is treated with respect,” Fairchild said. “We’ve got to find a way to ensure that happens.”
For the second week in a row, a resident on Wednesday used the public comment portion of the weekly commission meeting to attack and insult another citizen.
The speaker attends most city commission meetings and often becomes becomes animated and emotional while discussing topics from crime to city leaders.
Sometimes, speakers at commission meetings make accusatory, critical or insulting remarks about the city, city leaders or other activities in Dayton.
But some people say the speaker’s comments were abusive and personal and the commission should have cut him off.
“You really failed to keep order last week,” Nancy Kiehl, a citizen, said at the most recent commission meeting.
The public speaking request forms citizens must sign and submit to speak at commission meetings say that speakers will not become boisterous or act in ways that interfere with the “good order and decorum” of the commission.
Speakers are prohibited from disrupting the lawful meeting by making any “utterance, gesture or display” that “outrages the sensibilities of the group.”
Fairchild said he wants the city to look again at its conduct policies for the weekly meetings. He said citizens should be able to participate in the local government process without fearing they will be personally attacked.
“Given the debate from the podium the last two weeks, I encourage our citizens to join me and let’s be tough on issues and gentle on people,” Fairchild said.
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