Finance board adds public comment to beginning of meetings

At its Oct. 18 meeting, the Board of Finance unanimously voted to add a public comment period at the beginning of its meetings.

The board’s decision follows the lead of the Board of Education, and more recently the Board of Selectmen and Miller-Driscoll Building Committee, to allow public comment periods at the beginning and end of each meeting.

“Public comment is a one-way talk to us,” said Board of Finance Chair Jeff Rutishauser. “People can make a short comment and then don’t have to stay for the meeting.”

Members of the public who wish to have a conversation with board members will have to wait until the board’s public participation period at the end, said Rutishauser.

Public comment will take place after the board’s approval of minutes.

Board member Warren Serenbetz pointed out that “people feel it’s important to have an opportunity ahead of decisions that might be made during the meetings to make a comment.”

At the suggestion of board member John Kalamarides, the board agreed to limit each commenter to three minutes.