Commenters welcome

BAR HARBOR — On Oct. 17, the Bar Harbor Town Council unanimously approved a motion to “request” a public comment period at all board and committee meetings.

Councilor Gary Friedmann brought the motion, citing a request from resident Carol Chappel during the public comment period at the Oct. 3 Town Council meeting.

“Over the last year, I’ve attended a lot of committee meetings,” Chappel said at the time. “Some fold it in; some don’t fold it in in any way, shape or form.”

“I think we’re just requesting that they allow it,” Friedmann said. “I think the intent is for whoever is running the meeting to recognize people in the room, why they are there and give them a chance to weigh in.”

Paradis said the Warrant Committee has the ability under the town charter to adopt its own bylaws, which he said could complicate the council action. It was also unclear if it would affect the school board.

“To me, it applies to them,” Paradis said. “The question is whether it can apply.”

The current practice at Town Council meetings allows a total of 15 minutes of public comment at the beginning of the agenda, with a maximum of three minutes per speaker.

Councilor Matt Hochman agreed that the set amount of time modeled at Town Council was optimal, as it controls the number of speakers.

“At visioning subcommittee meetings, it went on for 45 minutes,” Hochman said. “[Now] they provide a set amount of time so a lot of people don’t show up and want to keep speaking.”

This motion affects all task forces, boards, committees and subcommittees in Bar Harbor.






Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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