Meadowlakes rescinds disputed Citizens Comment form

By Lew K. Cohn
Managing Editor

Meadowlakes city officials changed course Tuesday, July 9, on a recently-enacted public comments policy after questions arose by citizens and legal experts about its legality.

Following the closed session of a special-called meeting at city hall, Mayor Mary Ann Raesener directed city staff to remove language from the new Citizens Comment form unveiled at a regular meeting about a month prior.

Freedom of Information experts – alleging the form violated the intent of the Texas Open Meetings Act – said it appeared to pre-screen individuals who wish to talk about personnel, litigation, security issues, contract negotiation and real estate transactions and directed them to request the item be placed on the next council meeting agenda without having the right to comment on those issues.

If your concern is checked above, be aware that you may not mention in an open meeting any identifier of the person(s) you wish to complain about or the specific issue that concerns you,” the form stated.

Any public comment could expose you to possible criminal charges (Class B Misdemeanor, including fine, jail time, or both) as well as civil law litigation with possible penalties, including exemplary damages. These charges, civil or criminal, could include public trial at the county level in Burnet.” . . .

Find the rest of this story in the Friday, July 12 issue of The Highlander, the newspaper of record for the Highland Lakes. To offer a news tip or comment, email lew@highlandernews.com. To subscribe, call 830-693-4367.

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