Amherst Select Board 6:29 PM 9/8/14
So it looks like Amherst Select Board Chair Aaron Hayden is taking lessons from former Regional School Committee Chair Lawrence O'Brien when it comes to stifling public comment at a public meeting.
And that, Mr. Hayden should take note, is the key reason why Mr. O'Brien quickly became a former Chair.
Two weeks ago both John Fox and I appeared before the SB during the 6:30 Public Comment period with our own pet peeves and asked to be placed on the agenda for the 9/8 meeting to have a full public discussion.
Apparently none of the 5 members of the board thought it important enough to request the matters be officially placed on the agenda.
According to Massachusetts Open Meeting Law if an item does not appear on a published agenda at least 48 hours before a meeting, the body cannot discuss it -- let alone take a vote. So that's why questions and concerns brought up during the 6:30 Public Comment period cannot be acted upon, although they do have the benefit of media amplification.
But it sounds to me like Mr. Hayden, who used up over 5 minutes making his comments, is rethinking the entire Public Comment Period. Maybe he will call it the "Shut The Hell Up" Period.
Then we can change the unofficial town motto from "Amherst, where only the H is silent" to "Amherst, where even the H is silent."