Council to implement question-and-answer sessions

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK– Residents here have a lot of questions for council members.

But at most city council meetings, they weren’t getting many answers.

A new policy would change that.

Council member Tina Gaworecki introduced the original resolution, which would have set a thirty-minute question-and-answer period at each meeting. After discussion, councilors decided to change the resident comment period at the end of each meeting to include council answers.

“If a resident comes up here and asks a question, I would like to have somebody answer them,” Gaworecki said, “right then would be the most appropriate time.”

The proposal was amended numerous times and a motion to table it was proposed but never seconded after Councilman James Flynn announced a public meeting he was holding that would cover that among other topics. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 19 at Allen Park Community Center. City Administrator David Tamsen then suggested implementing the policy on a trial basis.

The announcement prompted a burst of applause from the audience, many of whom had complained numerous times during the comment period that the forum did not allow for council members to answer their questions.

Gaworecki discussed starting the question-and-answer period at that meeting, but it was decided to start it at the next council meeting in accordance with another resolution passed earlier in the evening, requiring all agenda items to be submitted the Thursday before a council meeting.

Council members also discussed asking department heads to attend the meetings to help answer resident questions. If an answer was not immediately available, council members said they would provide it at the next meeting.

“I’ve been asking for that for awhile,” Resident Harry Sisko said of the policy. “It’s great to see some new people actually listen to some of the people who come up here and taking a positive step forward.”