Shohola Liberalizes Public Comment Policy
SHOHOLA — After more than eight years of wrangling with vocal members of the public who wanted more opportunities to voice opinion at regular supervisor meetings, Shohola Township supervisors voted unanimously to relax their policy. Supervisors Greg Hoeper, George C. Fluhr and Keith Raser took action at their regular monthly meeting held last week at the township building on Twin Lakes Road. Supervisors' first action was to rescind the three-minute-per-person limit on public comments. The new policy is not restricted with a time constraint.
Resident Shirley Masuo, one of those who has attended most regular meetings for years and who has frequently been a gadfly at township meetings, commended supervisors on the unlimited-minutes' policy. But, Masuo asked if supervisors might also rescind the policy of having those who want to comment at a meeting to log in on the sign-up sheet available up to the meeting start time. Under that policy, if a person had not signed up by the time the meeting was called to order, that person was not allowed to comment. Supervisors agreed to rescind the policy governing sign-ups. Many meetings in past years, a handful of residents had lobbied supervisors for a more liberal public comment policy. In the past, township Solicitor Jason Ohliger said that Shohola supervisors had total discretion on designing their Public Comment policy as long as it was consistent to federal Constitutional law and state laws governing free speech.
Ohliger noted previously that each municipality in Pike County, and even the county commissioners, could customize the Public Comment policy. And that such policies differed from venue to venue. Ohliger was often called upon at Shohola meetings to arbitrate between residents with a beef and one or more supervisors... for complete story, get this weeks issue.