Limit Tim Gobble's Talking Time - And Response

Saturday, January 12, 2013
Anyone that knows me knows that I am 100 percent supportive of open transparent government. Government business is supposed to be done openly, giving the public the opportunity to know how their tax dollars and resources are being used. However, there is a point in time when too much talk only confuses and belabors the process. That is what being allowed to happen in our East Ridge Council meetings.
Our city manager's position gives him the opportunity to be involved in the discussion, but affords him no voting power.
Our current city manager, Tim Gobble, certainly takes advantage of having the opportunity to speak and speak and speak. This results in very long discussions where Mr. Gobble repeats and repeats the same points. It reminds me of a child when they want to do something that they know their parents’ answer is going to be no. The strategy is to wear down the opponent so they will give in, just to get you to shut up.
To our five elected officials in East Ridge, it is time to put a stop to this. Citizens are afforded five minutes to address Council and voice their concerns about issues. Gentlemen, citizens truly appreciate having that opportunity. There should also be a time limit put on the city manager. Give him the opportunity to make his case once, and then council members discuss and make their decision. The city manager should not be able to interrupt or interject any other comments unless asked by a Counci member and that should be for new information, not to allow him to rehash what he has already said.

The last Council meeting lasted until 10 p.m. and, to be honest, got very little accomplished. I am not alone in my feelings that Mr. Gobble’s need to incessantly speak hinders our elected officials in doing their jobs in a timely manner.

How much additional overtime is paid with these long meetings that could be just as informational in much less time?

Frances Pope

* * *

Oh please, Mrs. Pope. Surely you, a lowly taxpayer and mere citizen of East Ridge, would never suggest any government body conduct meetings in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order as your city charter mandates.

Just for grins, you might review your city charter. From there, a quick review of Robert's Rules will show that the person acting as chairman is nothing more than a meeting facilitator, and is never to participate in the discussion. Proper recognition by the chair, yielding the floor, and points of order might additionally be worthy of review to the members of the council as well.

Holy moley... a tax paying and voting citizen who not only participates in government but holds her elected officials and appointed functionaries accountable for their behavior. What, pray tell, is this world coming to?

You go, gal. But a word of advice. Daily workouts with a tennis ball not only strengthen one's wallet holding grip, they also strengthen that eye-poking finger.

Royce Burrage, Jr.

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