When the North Mankato City Council meets next on April 2, the meeting will include a second public comment period.
Last July, the Council implemented rules that limited public comment to only business items and established rules that required citizens to submit a request to the City if they wished to talk about an item not on the agenda. Since that time, there has been months of questioning by residents and signs in protest of the rule changes at meetings.
In January, the City Council began to hold open forums for citizens, but the input sessions went untelevised.
Mayor Mark Dehen recently made the recommendation to move the open forum back into the regular meetings.
“Utilizing the guidelines that we developed for the open forum meetings and move forward with that. I’d like to direct staff to find a spot on the agenda to do so.”
Councilman Billy Steiner had voiced during meetings that he feared that a lawsuit could stem from the changes to the public comment policy, adding that they were elected to listen.
“I’ve been advocating this all along,” said Steiner. Dehen added, “Yup, and you know, we’ve gotten to the point now I think we’ve come up with some rules that are working. We’ve had some experience for the last couple three months working with this and I think this will work for us.”
The Council unanimously approved the change.