At the last Haywood commissioners meeting, a citizen asked Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick and Commissioner Bill Upton to answer a political question as election candidates. This week, county attorney Chip Killian said that move was unlawful.
Commissioners cannot use the forum of a public meeting as a forum for politicking. In essence, state law forbids commissioners from using the forum at taxpayers’ expense to make political speeches or answer questions concerning political issues.
“The board is sitting as a board for the purpose of conducting county business, not politicking to get re-elected,” said Killian.
Haywood County has offered time for public comment long before it was required, and it offers citizens the chance to speak at both meetings while public comment is required only once a month, Killian added. That time should be used to offer input on county business, not for politics.