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Letter: Yorktown Supervisor Should Restore Order To Meetings

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YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters to Yorktown@dailyvoice.com.

To the editor:

Compliments should be extended to the Yorktown Students for Good Government and the four prospective special election candidates for conducting a most successful debate on Monday, Feb 23.

Contrast this debate with the Yorktown Town Board meeting of Tuesday, Feb. 17, and you will see how far Supervisor Michael Grace has strayed from displaying and enforcing the proper rules of order for public meetings. The supervisor is in charge of the Town Board meetings, and the standards of civility are set from the top.

There are several solutions to this deterioration of civility:

  • Restore order to the meetings (refer to Roberts Rules of order or some modified version thereof).
  • Restore the true intent of courtesy of the floor. Do not show favoritism and do not let it be abused by self-serving individuals with businesses before and/or grievances against the Town Board council persons.
  • Be very clear about the rules for courtesy of the floor.

Verbally state these rules before each courtesy of the floor. All public comments should be addressed to the supervisor and not to individuals in the audience.

  • No personal comments whatsoever by speakers against any individual, stick to the issues.
  • All speakers at the podium should be respectful and be treated with equal respect.
  • Speakers at the podium need to be succinct and limit self-serving commentary (no repeated recitations of one’s life history)
  • Speakers at the podium should have the opportunity to speak without being interrupted unless they stray from the rules of order and require a correction by the supervisor.
  • Be clear and be fair about how much time the speaker has at the podium.
  • Restore the second courtesy of the floor for nonagenda items and reserve the first courtesy of the floor for agenda items only.

Respect for elected officials:

  • Our elected officials should not criticize, reprimand or bully each other in public. Decisions and votes should be respected.
  • Our elected officials should be allowed to speak without being interrupted.
  • Our elected officials deserve respect and should not be subjected to slander, unsubstantiated allegations, personal commentary, innuendo or offensive analogies.

Thank you again to the Yorktown High School Students for Good Government for showing us the right way to conduct a public meeting. Please remember to vote on Tuesday, March 10.

Miriam D. Messing Curtin

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