Voice your opinion

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 19, 2005

For the past few weeks, I’ve heard many comments, read many emails and received several letters to the editor and all of them complained of events taking place in the county, especially with reference to the county commissioner’s meetings.

Most of the people who comment on the &uot;problems,&uot; as they are viewed, are commenting, but taking no particular action on their own.

The meetings of the county commissioners take place on the first Monday of each month and they begin promptly at 9 a.m. I have seen some great changes taking place at the meetings, with more and more of Gates County’s citizens showing up and actually taking an interest in what’s transpiring during those all important meetings.

Still, there are so many people who would rather sit home and complain and say they can’t get anything done in the county. How can they expect any action when they aren’t willing to get off the sofa and take some action of their own?

Many people have complained about the number of variances being granted after the county established a code that stipulates a set of facts, rules and regulations, about what a land owner can do with his land. If you disagree with the county commissioners and want to see the code more strictly enforced, then get down to the next meeting and make your wishes known.

Also, anyone who has something to say to the commissioners is always invited to take part in the public hearings that are taking place. But, be sure to request an opportunity to speak your piece. Do not just jump up and begin a tirade against the commissioners. That is not acceptable behavior in any town meeting.

In fact, I have, in the past couple of months seen the commissioners and county manager be very lenient when it comes to enforcing the rules of protocol during their meetings. County Manager Mark Biberdorf and Commission Chairman J.S. Pierce have both maintained a true &uot;Southern gentleman&uot; behavior when they could have insisted on &uot;order in the courtroom!&uot;

Most counties and cities do have a certain protocol in these public meetings and they adhere strictly to that protocol. No one, and I mean no one, gets by with speaking out of order or raising their voice or taking the subject matter away from the issues at hand. I saw this happen this month and still those two gentlemen maintained control of their emotions and brought the meeting back to order.

The commissioners all agree; Gates is a county of close-knit relationships and they truly do not want to resort to having a deputy stationed nearby to maintain control and order in the meetings.

However, I do believe there is such a thing as good, old fashioned common courtesy toward our fellow man and if we could all afford that to each other, the Gates County Commissioner’s meetings would be just as effective at managing county issues and a lot more pleasant.

I urge you, my fellow citizens, get up Monday, May 2, and prepare to attend the 9 a.m. meeting of the County Commissioners. They will appreciate your presence, especially if you know how to behave yourself.