A gentleman by the name of Jorge Mesa-Tejada from Hampstead wrote a letter to the editor in the Tri-Town stating that people who feel they have a right to comment at public meetings have “a runaway sense of entitlement,” given that the state laws regulating public meetings do not require chairmen to open most meetings to public comment. He had obviously read my letter posted here before it appeared in the paper, which is rather gratifying.
I would like to see the SAU board by-laws, which do not seem to be publicly available, to see if conducting meetings is among the items addressed. In any event, Mr. Mesa-Tejada is legally correct but completely missing the point.
“Can” does not mean “should.” The law may allow the limitation of public comment and non-public meetings, but this doesn’t mean this is the way meetings should be conducted — or have been in the history of our state. The person with the runaway sense of entitlement is the chairman who is using his authority to thwart uncomfortable public comment and scrutiny. I worry that the high-handedness it reveals will lead to worse behavior to come.
I’ll put a link to the letters when they are available from the paper’s website next week.