Barnstable County Commissioner Chair Wants to Ensure Civility at Meetings

BARNSTABLE – Leo Cakounes is looking to make sure civility is the norm at county government meetings.

At their session last week, Cakounes, the board’s chairman, expressed concern for recent failures to adhere to appropriate decorum during the meeting public comment periods.

“I just wanted to have the opportunity to remind the public the difference between a public meeting and a public forum,” he began.

“Public meetings that are regularly scheduled such as this one here which we are performing right now in front of you, are here for the strict purposes of the public being able to witness that goes on in the deliberations between the commissioners.”

Last Wednesday Cakounes reminded them of long established guidelines for behavior at regular commissioners’ meetings enacted roughly a decade ago.

“People do not have the right – in fact the law is pretty clear on this – to comment or to discuss items at a public meeting,” said Cakounes.

“Any public comment is directed towards and under the direct control of the chair of that meeting. In this case I happen to be the chair.”

Those polices include limiting one’s comments to three minutes, not engaging in debate with any commissioners, directing all comments exclusively to the chairman, and maintaining a respectful, courteous, and dignified demeanor.


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