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.”
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.