Response to Citizens' Comments
Good afternoon Mac,
Several months or longer ago, there was commission discussion on how to respond to citizens who speak during "Citizen Comment" on the regular meeting agenda. It was my understanding that staff would respond in writing to questions raised by citizens and that a copy of the response would be distributed to the members of the commission.
Recently, I was asked by a couple of residents why the administration and/or commission does not respond to questions raised at commission meetings. Silly me - I responded that the administration does respond to citizens' questions. Then, I thought - I have not received any information recently on questions raised during Citizens Comments.
Would you be kind enough to provide me with a copy of the written responses to citizens for the last couple of months.
Sorry I did not get to this yesterday, just now getting to my e-mails. I believe the consensus of the commission was for staff not to have to respond in writing to requests from citizens. We have a policy that staff will contact the individual and discuss their question in person, either by calling or agreeing to meet with them. Usually, this task falls to Jonathan Evans. The results of the call or meetings is always reported in the City Manager’s Report. An example is the question Curtis Holmes asked at the Saturday Budget Focus Group discussion about the trees and bushes that needed to be trimmed or removed around the pedestrian walkways along Clearwater/Largo Road. Greg Brown RP&A Parks Supervisor visited the site along with SGT George Edmiston from the Police Department. The result was the bushes and trees were trimmed not only at the pedestrian crossing but along the entire length of Clearwater/Largo Road. Three trees were also removed and will be planted elsewhere. This issue will be reported in this Friday's City Manager Report. Additionally, the City Clerk records the questions and forwards them to the appropriate Department for response. The response is provided to Shirley Frick who then sends the information to the commission. Diane tells me that there have been no questions asked that have not been addressed by the Mayor or a Commissioner at the end of the meeting during the past couple of months.
I am not aware of any letters that have been sent to our residents. I will meet next Wednesday with all the Directors to determine if anyone has copies of letters sent as a result of a citizens comment request. If any exist, I will have them forwarded to you. Should the Commission desire to reconsider requiring staff to respond to every citizen comment question with a letter to the citizen and copy the commission, we can begin to do this. However, I believe we accomplish much better relations with citizens when we make direct contact with them to try and solve their issues. If you have someone who has asked you about an issue they requested help with and we have not responded, if you will provide me with the residents name and number, I will personally contact them and if at all possible solve their problem.
Norton Mac Craig
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