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During Monday night’s Fiscal Court meeting, Magistrate Hobert Judd told Judge-Executive Bill Karrer that he wanted to address the court’s “communications from citizens” policy.
Currently, the policy is that citizens are allowed three minutes to address the court as long as the topic they wish to discuss is on the agenda.
We’ve addressed our displeasure with this policy, and for the record, we continue to do so.
Judd recommended the court increase that three-minute window to four or even five minutes.
“Too often our people come in, and they have something they want to get off their chest and we’re supposed to be a sounding board for them,” Judd said.
Karrer was quick to respond that he thought three minutes was enough and if citizens have something to address, they can “simply get on the agenda.”
How simple is it to get on the agenda? In all reality, probably very simple — it probably only requires a call to the judge’s office to make the request.
But assuming the average citizen knows that is an option might be too simple in itself.
Many times — before the current speaking policy was in place — citizens showed up at Fiscal Court meetings because they didn’t know where else to go. They didn’t even know who to call, but they thought they might get some assistance by coming to a meeting and asking firsthand.
They don’t have that option anymore.
Yes, Judge Karrer is correct — all citizens have the opportunity to get on the agenda, but unless they regularly attend meetings (and most don’t), they might not know that’s what they’re supposed to do.
And we have a hunch that if a citizen shows up with a problem and attempts to address the court, once he or she is reminded (read: told for the first time) that only items on the agenda are to be discussed, he or she won’t be back. It’s already happened at least once.
So, dear readers, let us help you get ahead of the game. Phone numbers for the judge and each of the magistrates appear on this page every week.
If you have a question or need help, call them — they are your representatives. If you decide you’d like to address the court, call 477-3205 and ask to be put on the agenda.
This court was elected by the people of Spencer County, and we believe those people should have access to it.