VIDEO: Bloomingdale Council Imposes Limits on Public Comment
Commenters will no longer be able to engage in dialogue directly with council and be limited to five minutes each, speaking only once.
After Bloomingdale Mayor Jon Dunleavy called the measure "offensive" the borough council adopted a resolution to limit the amount of time a person can speak during public comment periods to five minutes, allowing each person to come to the podium just one time, and not allowing the public to have dialogue directly with the council without directing comments to the chair of the meeting, or the mayor.
Council President Linda Huntley cited other towns, such as Wayne, Little Falls, Clifton and West Milford, and said that the council has done research and found that other municipalities have similar bylaws in place and that their no-dialogue policies prevent council meetings from becoming "unruly," as Huntley said Bloomingdale's council meetings have become.
"We are here for the public. They should be able to say what they want, when they want, however many times they want-that's who we represent. And stifling them and not engaging is just outright ludicrous, rude and insulting to the people who put you here," the mayor said Tuesday.
Huntley said the meetings should be conducted in a "professional and polite manner" and that "the public comment periods are to permit the residents to voice their opinions, not to permit them to argue, debate and then again come back with another opinion on different items."
Huntley said the council does want to hear the public's opinion, and that the two public comment periods would remain in place, but that she hopes the change allows the public to express themselves while helping "expedite" the meetings.
Two residents spoke their minds about the new bylaw. Check out our video above to see what they had to say.