Cleveland City Council to allow public comment at meetings

Published: May. 11, 2021 at 8:33 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In a historic move, it’ll now be a lot easier for Clevelanders to voice their concerns to city lawmakers.

The Cleveland City Council gave the go-ahead Monday to allow public comment at its regular meetings. The last time the city council allowed this most of us weren’t alive.

“I think it’s been something that has been long overdue,” said Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek, Ward 8. “There have been concerns in the past that we would have individuals who would just come to meetings just to attack the administration or members of council.”

Jessica Trivisonno is part of “Clevelanders for Public Comment,” a group of Cleveland residents who’ve spent the past few months fighting for this chance to be heard at city council meetings.

“It’s really boggling that it has taken so long and so much effort,” Trivisonno told 19 News.

Right now, city council has some basic guidelines for the new policy. Public comment at its regular meetings will be a half hour. It’s first come, first served. And it’s open to city residents and business owners. Each person will be allowed between2-3 minutes to speak. But, what you’re allowed to talk about is something Trivisonno hopes doesn’t stick.

“They are limiting it to any item that is on the agenda, which I think is a real barrier to having any real engagement,” she said, adding that she hopes those who work in Cleveland will also be allowed to take part in this public comment.

The Operations Committee will now work to figure how to implement the change, something council members told 19 News they’re hopeful will happen soon.

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