Saline Board of Ed and City Council Could Learn from Pittsfield Township

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Saline Board of Ed and City Council Could Learn from Pittsfield Township

Pittsfield Township has something on its agenda that Saline City Council and Saline School Board should consider.

Check out item 15 and item 15.1.

Public Comment II Any person may come forward at this time to address the Board.

Anyone who wishes to speak is requested but not required to state his/her name and address for the record.

15.1 Board Response to Public Comment I

Too often, someone citizen will stand in front of council or the board -- a nerve wracking experience for some -- and deliver a short, passionate comment or complaint, and then be greeted with blank stares and forced smiles from their local elected representatives.

Now, from time to time, I've heard Mayor  Brian Marl or Superintendent Scot Graden address those concerns. But it's a little random. And sometimes, when there is no reply, it feels a little like local government is ducking its constituency. I've spoken to more than one person who was irked after getting no reply from local government.

Local government should be responsive. Adopting the Pittsfield Township board's agenda item, and then taking the time to thoughtfully respond to those comments, would be a step in the right direction. 



Stony faces

Thank you for initiating a conversation on this topic, Tran. Training provided by the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) strongly urged board members not to react during public comment periods. That surprised me, at first, but one of the main reasons for remaining stony and stoic is so we do not mislead anybody. A misplaced nod might be mistaken to indicate agreement.

After a not-too-exhaustive search, I found that only a few boards include a "Board Response to Public Comment" and, after looking over Minutes I was able to find online, those comments are generally helpful redirections to the correct agency or contact person. 

Personally, I am always delighted when a member of the public speaks during the comment period or writes a thoughtful letter to the board and superintendent. 

Public comment time

THANK YOU Tran;  Ive been so disappointed in this.  I figure what is the point of spending up to three hours sitting to made a unanswered question, concern or comment I understand not receiving a reply at that meeting, but comment could be made on it, within the next couple meetings. I have become almost a standing joke , because of my waiting  to comment on a issue during this public time. I do so because of my my love for Saline, (my home city), My friends and family tell me,  Im putting all that time in, but no-one cares and I should learn that. I have proudly served my city on city council and other commission  almost thirty years, and attended city council and other city meetings another thirteen .  It is not comfortable standing in front of city council wanting to make sure you get your concern in before the bell, and having others looking down on you. Tran, don't get me wrong , I wouldn't change a hour spent there.but hope replies would come in a timely manner or better yet a response and more citizens become involved . Thanks again Tran for putting my general feeling into words.