County Commissioners Prohibit Citizens From Saying Officials’ Names During Public Meetings — the New Rule Doesn’t Go Over Well

DeKalb County commissioners in Georgia implemented a new rule prohibiting citizens from using the names of commissioners during the public comment portion of county meetings — and it didn’t go over very well with taxpayers.

Taxpayer Ruby Davis told WGCL-TV, “That’s my First Amendment right of freedom of speech.”

“They forget that they’re supposed to work for the taxpayers,” Davis said. “They believe the taxpayers work for them.”

During a meeting, taxpayer Jeff Long noted that “the county’s own written comment policy does not address using a commissioner’s name during public comment time.”

“If you don’t want your name mentioned during public comment time, then stop doing outrageous, offensive, illegal and, quite frankly, stupid things,” Long said.

Also during a recent meeting, taxpayer Beth Long said, “With this rule, the message that you’re sending to us the public is that you hold yourselves above our constitutional rights,” adding, “We the public are the ones who put you in those seats.”

WGCL noted that one of the commissioners — Sharon Barnes Sutton — found a creative way to avoid hearing her name at the meeting: She arrived two hours late.

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