Decision to limit time for people on agenda has Bonifay residents split

Published: Oct. 10, 2023 at 6:36 PM CDT
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BONIFAY, Fla. (WTVY) - The newest decision by the Bonifay City Council has the community expressing mixed feelings.

At the Tuesday meeting, the board decided to limit those on the agenda to a ten minute time restraint. Before this meeting, people who asked to be added to the agenda could be allowed to address the council as long as they felt necessary.

Bonifay resident Joyce Everett feels this is a new way for the council to suppress the public opinion.

“Larry Cook is just trying to be a dictator,” said Everett. “They don’t want people here at the meetings, so they’ve changed the time to nine o’clock in the morning. There was between eight or ten people at the meeting this morning. People don’t know about it. They can’t go if they don’t know. They don’t want people know what’s going on.”

People of Bonifay seem to be divided on the matter.

Some of the residents agree with Everett.

“This is them trying to limit public comments,” said one citizen on social media. “They don’t want the people talking about all the things they are doing wrong.”

Others seem to be fine with the decision.

“This way, everyone has the same fair amount of time to address their concerns without consuming everyone else’s time,” said another citizen, seeming to side with the decision to limit comments to ten minutes. “Faster, more efficient and can cover more topics.”

Everett mentioned Richard Willsey, a resident who frequently attempts to get on the agenda and usually sides against the council. She feels this could be a way to slow him down at meetings.

“He represents the people, he knows what to say and they don’t want him speaking longer than ten minutes,” said Everett. “It’s just rotten.”

Many municipalities have limits on talking when on the agenda, and citizens are still allowed to issue the council in the public comments section of meetings for three minutes with concerns on the agenda.

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