Tonight’s (10/17/23) Saratoga Springs City Council agendas are yet another unfortunate example of the dysfunction in city hall in general and in the Mayor’s office in particular. I say “agendas” because there are two conflicting versions of tonight’s order of business posted on the city website by the Mayor’s office (see above). When and for how long the public can speak tonight depends on which agenda you look at.
On one agenda labeled the “Meeting Sequence,” the public comment period tonight is scheduled to run for only 15 minutes right after the 6PM Call to Order, Roll Call, and Salute to the Flag. On the actual Council agenda, though, comment is scheduled for an undetermined amount of time sometime after 7 p.m. after a hearing on the 2024 Comprehensive Budget.
So when can the public comment, and for how long?
Do citizens who want to speak show up at 6 only to have to wait until well after 7 for an opportunity to address the Council, or do they show up at 7 and maybe miss the comment period that went ahead at 6? A request for clarification sent to Deputy Mayor Angela Rella was not answered.
Kim has repeatedly touted to the media and in his campaign materials that he has increased “transparency in government” and extended “public comment at Council meetings…working to ensure the voices of residents are heard by the Council.”
In fact, when Kim changed the length of time each speaker had to four minutes from two and cut the public comment period to half an hour, he greatly reduced the number of people who could speak. In addition, he, of course, enforces all these rules sporadically.
Given the controversies over the city’s 2024 budget and the loss of insurance coverage by the city, the public may well have a lot they want to say and many questions they want answered. Kim seems to have done his best to make this difficult.