Dahlonega resident and local attorney Stroud Stacy tried to address the City Council during Public Comments of the March 7 meeting. Stacy tried to address what he called the unconstitutional ordinance they were planning to adopt for removing a sitting member of the council.
Dahlonega Mayor Gary McCullough interrupted Stacy asking if he was being compensated as an attorney representing a member of the City Council. Stacy replied that he was appearing as a private citizen, not as a representative of any member of the council.
The Mayor next asked the City Attorney if Stacy should be allowed to speak during Public Comments or if he should be required to get on the agenda for the next City Council Meeting? The City Attorney said that Stacy should be allowed to continue. The Mayor then told Stacy to complete his comments within one minute or get on the agenda for the next meeting. Stacy replied that he would return and be on the agenda.
I understand that after the meeting, council members reprimanded Mayor McCullough for being rude to a member of the public during Public Comments. Some members of the public in attendance stated that Mayor McCullough did not act in a professional manner and in keeping with the office that he holds.
Only one person, Stroud Stacy, spoke during Public Comments. To limit the time he could speak just because of the topic is a clear attempt to control public discourse and avoid hearing from anyone who disagrees.
It looks like the Mayor is using every opportunity to stifle public comment on Council’s attempt to remove one of their members.
I’ve been to many city meetings and have never heard of public comment being limited to one minute.