Hillsborough Commissioners may change meeting format

04/04/07 Mitch E. Perry
Alan Watts


This morning 2 members of the Hillsborough County Commission said they want to set aside time at their next meeting to discuss how they conduct their meetings.


Commissioner Ken Hagen, who was Chairing today’s meeting in Jim Norman’s absence, said that it might be time to something about the extensive about of public proclamations and accommodations that the Commission gives out at the beginning of their meetings. 


He said this after today’s meeting began with a half hour of such commendations, with nearly every Commissioner making an announcement, followed by the recipients giving a short speech (roll tape#1 o..q. ‘that we discuss it so…”)


The Commission did change their procedures regarding who received such accommodations after receiving criticism for honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee just minutes before they then honored a local black community activist.


After accommodations were given out, the Commission then heard from the public, who is allowed to weigh in on virtually any subject under the sun.  That contrasts, for example, with the Tampa City Council, which allows for such comment at the end of their meetings, but reserves public comment in the earlier, televised portion of their meeting with issues that are on that day’s agenda.


County Commisioner Rose Ferlita said the Comission ought to consider something similar, after 2 different speakers affiliated with USF’s Center for Economic Development research presented their research on comprehensive plans. (roll tape#2 o.q.” for public comment”)


Commissioner Ken Hagen agreed – so both items will be discussed at the next Commission meeting later month.


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