Crawford County residents angry over new public comment policy

Submitted Thu, 03/21/2013 - 7:49am by Andy Alm

MEADVILLE – Public comment about public comment took center stage at yesterday’s Crawford County Commissioners Work Session, as two residents – regulars at the weekly meetings – made cases against the commissioners’ proposal to limit the length of time a person is allowed to speak at their meetings.  Sam Byrd and Gary Young spoke for a combined total of nearly an hour yesterday, criticizing the new policy and the perceived misconduct of elected county officials.

“Crawford County needs cleaned up.  The word I used before is a cesspool of political corruption,” Young said.

Young said county commissioners should order a grand jury investigation against Sheriff Nick Hoke, for his alleged use of illegal hiring practices in 2011.  Charges were not filed against Hoke when he hired a person whose name did not appear on a state mandated list of potential hires.  And Hoke at the time admitted it was an honest mistake.

Young said the public comment issue should be dropped because the county has received very little written feedback from the public about the policy.  Commissioner Chairman Francis Weiderspahn said most of the response he’s gotten has been verbal, and has been in support of the new proposal.

Sam Byrd made it clear that regardless of what public comment policy is put into place, he’s not going away.

“It has to change because I’m not moving and I’m not going to shut up.”

The policy has not yet officially taken effect.  It would not significantly restrict public comment at work session meetings, only at official business meetings.

Full text of the new draft public participation policy posted HERE:

http://www.crawfordcountypa.net/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/CRAWFORDCOUNTYGOVERNMENT/COMMISSIONERSCONTENT/DRAFT%20PUBLIC%20POLICY%20FOR%20WEB.PDF

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