So the first public meeting was held last night regarding the HCPSS redistricting plan. There was a VERY specific sign up procedure for the public in order to provide public testimony at that meeting. But I guess when you are an elected member in office today…those rules do not apply to you. Delegate Terri Hill was call upon yesterday evening to testify…here is that testimony:
To be clear…here are the first 33 people (of the 76 signed up to testify) last night…click the image to see everyone signed up:
So…many students were pushed back because the Chair of the Howard County Board of Education (HoCoBOE) called upon an elected member (Delegate Hill)…who did not sign up to testify…to testify publicly….when the students were supposed to be testifying.
To be clear…I have no problems with what Delegate Hill said…I have no issues about political parties in this…it has to do with the process…because I feel comfortable to say that had I shown up…I would not have been allowed to testify…and sure as heck would not have been invited to interrupt the students testifying.
Now I do not want to turn the redistricting discussions into political discussions…but dang it…it keeps dragging more and more that way. Is this about politics or about taking care of the kids of this county?
If there are rules…there should be rules for everyone. It is not like the political officials do not already have direct access to HoCoBOE members…so what was the point of last night?
I am pretty spun up again…and will continue to be watching the HoCoBOE closely in this process. We ALL should be fairly represented in this process. No party or elected official should get preferential treatment in this process…not when the HoCoBOE has made very specific rules in order to testify.
Registration is required only for those who wish to testify. All other members of the public may attend without registering. Pre-registration will be available only by phone or in person. There will be no online pre-registration, nor will there be registration on site at a hearing.
Have thoughts…let me know in the comments.
ARTICLE UPDATE: Folks are questioning if the HoCoBOE allowing Delegate Hill to speak is within or outside of current policies. Here is Policy 2040 – Public Participation in Meetings of the Board. Give it a read and you tell me if registration to speak is required for elected officials or not required based on this policy. I have my opinions…but others think I may be wrong.