Manatee commissioners approve more time for public to speak at meetings

skennedy@bradenton.comApril 8, 2014 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission on Tuesday endorsed more liberal rules to govern how people may address the board during public meetings.

Commissioners OK'd a motion to set the time limit for people speaking during public meetings to three minutes across the board. They opposed a plan that would have restricted speaking time to two minutes, under some circumstances.

“I’ve always been a proponent for public comment," said Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who urged fellow board members to grant more time and impose fewer restrictions for members of the public who appear to speak during commission meetings.

Audience members who spoke at the meeting at County Administrative Center were uniformly in favor of more time and fewer limits.

“This is sunshine, and we’re supposed to be about sunshine,” said an audience member, Lee Redfern, referring to the state's open meetings laws.

Manatee County Attorney Mickey Palmer said he would bring a final version of revisions to procedures for meetings of the board on April 22.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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