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Ordinance would finally allow for public comment at Cleveland City Council meetings

Posted at 6:33 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 18:33:34-04

CLEVELAND — After a groundswell of support that has grown over the past few months, it appears that Cleveland City Council may consider — finally — allowing public comment at council meetings.

Cleveland is the only major city in Ohio not to have a public comment period at any point during a regular council meeting.

After the November elections — and low voter turnout — a grassroots organization called Clevelanders for Public Comment started bringing light to the issue.

Now, an ordinance that the organization drafted is poised to be introduced later this month and has the support of Councilman Kerry McCormack.

“It’s incredibly important,” he said. “What you do is you get feedback from a whole bunch of people, and it’s not that you do exactly what every single person says, but you get the general feeling and sentiment of the community and you’re able to make informed decisions at the end of the day. Jessica Trivisonno with Clevelanders for Public Comment agrees.

“It’s incredibly surprising that this is controversial,” she said. “It seems to me that public comment should be unanimously supported by public servants who were called to run for office, right?”

Under the proposal, 30 minutes would be set aside for public comment, with speakers limited to three minutes apiece.

The ordinance also allows that block of time to be extended, if needed.