Eagle mayor pledges public can comment at meeting | VailDaily.com

Eagle mayor pledges public can comment at meeting

EAGLE — Mayor Yuri Kostick said the public will have a chance to speak near the beginning of Tuesday’s town board meeting and before the board decides whether to go into executive session to discuss suspended Town Manager Jon Stavney’s employment status.

The question arose when the town distributed an agenda markedly different than it has previously appeared, listing “public comment” fourth instead of first on the document.

Another unusual statement states the board intends to limit public comment on this issue to 30 minutes total, and three minutes per statement to the board.

Kostick, who developed the agenda with the town clerk and town attorney, called it simply a format change.

‘First order of business’

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“We intend to hear public comment on the first order of business, which is the executive session to discuss a personnel matter,” Kostick said. “Executive sessions are listed as agenda items but that does not mean that the board will enter into executive session. In order to do so takes a motion and a vote and it does not always happen. I do not know if the board will vote to go into executive session at Tuesday’s meeting but it is listed. As with any agenda item, the board can choose to take public comment or not — not all agenda items are subject to public comment. As I said before, the town board plans on hearing public comment on this agenda item because numerous people have asked us to allow comment on the matter and we have placed this item as the first order of business for the evening to allow that comment as soon as possible.”

Confusion regarding the agenda changes prompted concern from several citizens who plan to speak on Stavney’s behalf Tuesday.

“Please ensure that the agenda is appropriately changed back to the normal format in order to permit the citizens of Eagle a chance to express their comments to the board members prior to the executive session,” said resident Mitch Hayne in an email to all of the town board members which was also forwarded to the newspaper. “It is critical that elected (and appointed) representatives of the people have communication with their constituents in an open, honest and forthright manner.”

When asked if the public would have the chance to speak prior to the executive session or board action, Kostick delivered a definitive “yes.” And he noted the board will hear from the public regarding other issues as well.

“Public comment is listed as the subsequent agenda item after the personnel matter to allow any citizens a chance to comment on any other topics not on the agenda. There may be people in town hall to discuss something other than the personnel matter and the public comment item is listed to allow them to do so,” said Kostick.

Time limit

The other, unusual change for the Stavney public commit relates to the 30-minute total limit. The board often asks citizens to limit their comments to no more than three minutes and to avoid repetition of previous statements. However, the statement that the “maximum time allotted to this topic of 30 minutes” is unusual. Traditionally, the town board does not place a total time limit on a discussion, although during the lengthy Eagle River Station hearings, which extended over months, the board limited public comment to one hour per each hearing.

Tuesday Presentations

The Tuesday agenda lists three presentations — an employee recognition for Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski who is leaving Eagle after 14 years to begin work for Summit County, a trail supporter award to the town of Eagle from Ellie Caryl of ECO Trails and a resolution appointing Max Schmidt to the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission. Following the presentation there is an executive session listed as “discussion and possible action on Jon Stavney’s employment status (Town board will update public regarding this topic as much as it can. Public comment on this item will be limited to 3 minutes per person; with a maximum time allotted to this topic of 30 minutes.)”

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