Macek Proposes Resolution to Public Participation Debate

council_agendaHaverhill City Councilor William J. Macek wants to put to rest one of his colleagues’ concerns about allowing residents to speak freely at city council meetings.

Macek said he and most other councilors are not trying to discourage so-called public participation, as championed by Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua, but rather comply with state open meeting laws while keeping meetings orderly. He’s present his plan Tuesday night.

“I believe that I have an alternative that will address probably 99 percent of the cases,” Macek told WHAV.

While he would not reveal specifics until Tuesday, he said, his plan complies with state law, gives others proper notice of topics, allows for suspension of the rules for “urgent” matters and removes the requirement a resident speak to a city councilor in advance. Speaking with WHAV, Macek questioned whether other boards are following the law when they allow unadvertised topics to come up.

“I’m not going to say why, or how or if it’s legal for other communities, including our school committee, to use the open mic process that they use for no notification and allow people to just appear.”

City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

Macek said he hasn’t spoken with Bevilacqua yet, but seeks to finally resolve the issue.

“Speaking for myself and, I believe, for many others, if not all others on the council, this is an item that needs to be put to rest.”

The veteran councilor said three existing council rules already allow for residents’ comments and his plan provides “four different doors to enter for public participation.” Macek said he will also suggest at Wednesday’s Administration and Finance subcommittee meeting a plan to rearrange the standard agenda to group public comments together.

Last week, councilors for the second time rejected Bevilacqua’s request to allow unregulated public comment at meetings.

The Haverhill City Council meets Tuesday, 7 p.m., in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers, City Hall.

5 thoughts on “Macek Proposes Resolution to Public Participation Debate

  1. Haverhill city government is being run by people who don’t want citizens asking questions….especially the totally incompetent mayor. They certainly don’t want citizens unexpectedly asking questions live on TV when they haven’t had time to prepare answers. The mayor is against open communication, asking questions, or citizens making demands on the city when he can’t control the process behind closed doors and in secret. He wants to control what information people get, and when they get it. Mayor taxman got the Eagle Tribune to delete the comment section on their online newspaper where hundreds of people would go to comment about things he was doing in the city. The mayor also “Blocks” anyone who goes onto his Facebook page and challenges him, or calls him out for his failures…which are numerous.

    Remember…the City of Haverhill made National news during this past presidential election when the mayor went out of his way to deny a taxpaying citizen his constitutional rights to Free Speech by threatening fines because he had too many campaign signs in his yard for the candidate the mayor opposed.
    It’s obvious the mayor is completely against an open, participatory government.

  2. If the city had an updated website and the agenda was posted in a regular fashion maybe the proposal by Bevilaqua would be a moot point.
    Unfortunately not everybody has the time or desire to watch the weekly circus and rush over so that you can submit input.
    Nobody should have to kiss a ring in order to speak.
    But again if the public is speaking of an issue the dept head should be there to defend or at least listen.

  3. What an incredible waste oftime on this baloney proposal by Bevi….. Macek’s intentions to mediate are nice, but they just provide legitimacy to a bogus proposal, where the end goal is achieving praise for Bevi or allowing him to paint himself as a “victim” …of common sense