Time’s up for residents who want to speak at the Texas Township supervisors’ meetings.


“I think the timers ought to be put away, I think common sense ought to prevail,” said Texas Township resident Cal Teeple.


Time’s up for residents who want to speak at the Texas Township supervisors’ meetings.
“I think the timers ought to be put away, I think common sense ought to prevail,” said Texas Township resident Cal Teeple.
When it comes to Texas Township’s recently enforced five-minute public comment period per person, columnist Cal Teeple says, “I think Democracy calls for debate, and that calls for making a statement, it calls for asking a question, it calls for getting answers to questions.”
When there are scores of people at a meeting waiting to speak, then a five minute time limit makes sense, Teeple said. But, when there are only a handful of people, then “you can use some common sense,” he said.
Supervisors have begun use of a kitchen timer to regulate length of public comment.
Supervisor Don Doney said the problem arose when someone appointed “themselves to be the liaison between the residents of Texas Township and the supervisors and took up half the meeting. That’s the reason for it.”
Resident John Bartron said, “We used to be able to talk five, six, seven, eight minutes to get our point across” but someone ruined it for the rest when they “babbled on for 40 minutes.
  “If everybody gets 40 minutes (and there’s a number of people) we’re going to be here for breakfast and probably lunch by the time everybody gets their 40 minutes,” Bartron said. “So, what do you do? You have to draw the line. And it’s too bad.”
Teeple told the supervisors, “When there’s a large crowd with a lot of disagreement, maybe there’s a time for egg timers to be on the table, otherwise, I disagree.”
“This is a small township, most of the people that come here are reasonable and they don’t want to waste your time anyway ...If you can’t ask questions, get answers back and forth, then you’re exercising some sort of benevolent dictatorship rather than a democracy,” Teeple said.