Let the Residents Speak!
Many city governing bodies allow for citizen comments during the course of a meeting. Sometimes there is a special agenda item for citizen's communication. Other cities have a section devoted to a discussion of items not specifically on the agenda. By law, some issues require the opportunity for citizen input. Overland Park usually meets this requirement by having a "Public Hearing" during the city council meeting immediately followed by a vote. The speaker must state their name and address and discussion must remain on the specific topic of discussion.
Unlike may of our surrounding cities, Overland Park does not allow time for an open forum for citizens to address topics they feel of importance. It's time for our city council to allow face to face communication with its residents.
Without this opportunity for residents to participate in City Council Meetings it much more difficult for any residents to get feedback from their representatives. The lack of any form of open forum allows the staff to set the agenda for the meeting which only includes topics and votes they need to proceed with their agenda. This leaves the impression that many City Council Meetings are simply a formality for the council to unanimously vote all issues put in front of them from staff and committee.
It's time for Overland Park to join our neighbors and allow residents to get more from their elected officials by allowing them to address their representative directly, in an orderly fashion, at all City Council Meetings.