Ground rules set for better behavior at board meetings

FLINT TWP. — Rude behavior by trustees at a recent township board meeting has led to stricter rules for conduct in the future.

Supervisor Karyn Miller said she was embarrassed by the board’s conduct during a heated discussion at the Nov. 7 meeting over the suspension of code enforcement officer Mike Myatt.

“We expect our employees and citizens to treat each other with courtesy and respect yet we did not follow policy nor behave according to the standard of conduct we expect of others,’’ Miller said.

Reading from a prepared statement, she recited the fundamental principles of Robert’s Rules of Order and said she would be enforcing them from now on.

To that end, derogatory comments will be ruled out of order, she said. Also interruptions will not be allowed and trustees will be limited to speaking twice on a motion and given a five minute time limit. No one will be recognized to speak a second time until each member has had chance to speak, Miller said.

Further, she said that any items to be placed on the board’s agenda must be presented to the clerk’s office by noon on the Wednesday before the next meeting to allow proper time for review and preparation of documents.

Myatt’s suspension, which ignited the Nov. 7 brouhaha, was added to the agenda at the start of the meeting at the request of township treasurer Sandra Wright who spoke at length about why she felt Myatt’s suspension had been mishandled.

Miller said from now on only matters of an urgent nature relevant to health and safety of township residents will be allowed to be added to the agenda after board packets have been distributed.

“I hope that by strictly following Robert’s Rules of Order, we can reach good decisions that reflect the desires of the majority of our citizens without derogatory comments about individuals or ideas and with courtesy to everyone,’’ Miller said.

None of the other board members commented on the new rules.

But the board’s behavior drew criticism twice during public comment.

Resident Alex Clark stated he also was embarrassed by the board’s conduct and elaborated on several comments he thought were inappropriate.

Using descriptions including “childish” and “laughing stock,’’ Clark said a congressional representative present in the audience that night had witnessed the squabble.

“There is a time and a place for personal vendetta’s, Clark stated.” And I know that many of you don’t get along behind closed doors but it needs to stay behind closed doors. When you come into this room you should be coming in wanting to do what is right for Flint Township and the residents here and not trying to bicker and grandstand for your re-elections.”

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