Say a prayer for Dan

If you follow Sussex County Council, you know that sitting in the back of the room is Dan Kramer of Greenwood. Dan has not missed a meeting for more than 15 years.

We all need to say a prayer for Dan as he undergoes some medical procedures to start the New Year. Knowing his feistiness, he won’t be down for long.

In fact, I think he has planned everything so he won’t miss a council meeting.

Dan is one of those unique Sussex County individuals who is not afraid to speak his mind to anyone who will listen. But, ironically, since the council changed its public participation policy he has not spoken during a regular meeting. He will talk during public hearings, but refuses to utter a word until council rescinds the current policy.

Under the policy, speakers must sign up at the meeting and restrict their comments to around three minutes. In addition, all comments must be general in nature and not aimed toward a council or staff member. In other words, you can’t call out someone at a meeting.

It’s not that he can’t speak his mind in three minutes, he says the entire policy restricts free speech.

I know that council members put little stock in what Dan says. They view him as a thorn in their side.

In reality, he is one of the few citizen watchdogs out there keeping an eye on county government. Sometimes he is the only member of the public at a meeting.

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2 Responses to “Say a prayer for Dan”

  1. joandeaver Says:

    Dan telephoned me and asked me to question the county attorney as to whether the wording on the signup sheet was within the legal limits of the law. I got an email answer and since it it public business I will reveal that here.
    “From: “Moore, Everett”
    Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2010 09:32:18 -0500
    To: ; VANCE PHILLIPS;
    Subject: Public Comments

    The case law and the Attorney General Opinions are very clear on this matter. As a public body there is NO requirement that the public be even afforded the opportunity to speak. The requirement is that those bodies act in public so the public can observe their actions. If a public body invites comments and allows the public to speak then it is required to do so in a fair , even handed manner without concern for the content of their speech. The Council has the right to set procedures for the speech as long as those procedures are even handed . “

  2. joandeaver Says:

    Also Dan is not a thorn in my side. He creates better government just by being at the meetings.

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