Public comment restricted at Beaufort County Council meetings

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In a controversial decision last month, Beaufort County Council Chairman Stu Rodman eliminated the public comment period previously held at the beginning of council meetings. The decision ends the council’s practice of allowing residents to speak for three minutes about issues on the agenda and for three minutes at the end of meetings about other issues. With the change, those who want to speak about agenda issues will have to wait until the issue is brought up by the council or until the end of the meeting. Rodman was accused of erecting barriers between local government officials and citizens. In June, Rodman recommended that transparency be removed as one of the council’s priorities.