Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014 5:49 pm
Posted on Mar 24, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)– New audio controls allow Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and City Treasurer-Clerk Jim Cooke to silence a microphone if they feel a resident is making a “personal attack” at a city meeting.
City commissioner Gil Ziffer says the commission voted unanimously on the new policy in September 2013. He says it’s an extension of a new law that calls for public comment in city meetings.
“We also wanted people to withhold from having personal attacks during these public comment sections,” said Commissioner Ziffer.
He says the system is far from perfect, and at this week’s city commission meeting, they plan to talk about just what is a “personal attack” and when can someone’s microphone be cut off.
“It’s just so fluid,” said Commissioner Ziffer. “I think we’ll learn a lot more this Wednesday. I certainly want to talk about it so that we can try to bring some closure. I think our speakers want to bring closure to it.”
While some residents worry their first amendment rights could be violated, Commissioner Ziffer says that is not the goal.
“We’re not thin-skinned,” he said, “but if it’s got nothing to do with government, then most people shouldn’t have to hear it.”