The Importance of Attending Public Meetings
The majority of people are apathetic when it comes to government whether it is on a city, county, state or federal level. “How does this affect me?” This is the most common question that people use as an excuse not to care. But the truth is IT DOES MATTER! Who you elect as Mayor has a direct influence on you. Mayors have the power to appoint people to positions of authority that affect your everyday life. This includes the Department Heads of Code Enforcement, Public Works, Dept. of Recreation, Office on Aging, etc. All of these decisions affect you! Every time the City Council makes a decision or passes an ordinance, it affects you! That is why transparency in government is so important. That is why there are sunshine laws.
“The Sunshine Act provides, with ten specified exemptions, that ‘every portion of every meeting of an agency shall be open to public observation.’ 5 U.S.C. 552b(b) It imposes procedural requirements to ensure, inter alia [among other things], that advance notice is given to the public before agency meetings take place.” (Source: Wikipedia)
The agendas of the upcoming Council Meetings are updated for each meeting and posted on the City’s Website. The Amboy Guardian lists the meeting dates and times of Council Meetings and other Boards from both Perth Amboy and South Amboy.
So many people come up to me and ask, “What’s going on at the Council Meetings? I haven’t been to one in such a long time.”
I always answer: “Go. See for yourself what’s going on.” So many people complain that there are so many things wrong with this town. It’s about time that more people put their money where their mouth is and go to these meetings.
By going to Council Meetings, you are exercising your right of free speech, a right that you may or may not have in another country. Feel free to speak about something that’s bothering you that the Council can do something about, or better yet, state how a problem that you were having was solved by your local government. Say what you have to say. Bring something to the attention of the Council. They may or may not be able to help you, but they can refer you to someone who can. Whether its concern about a project or garbage on the street – have your voice heard! After attending my share of meetings, I’m sure some fresh faces will be most welcome.
They are there to help you. The Council Members contact information is available on the City’s website if you have a problem and need to contact them. The Council can’t magically know something’s wrong unless you bring it to their attention. Call the Mayor’s Office if you feel that they personally need to be aware of a problem that is going on.
Pay attention to your neighborhood. If you see something is wrong like a giant pothole, then report it. If a crime is happening, call it in.
Attend Public Meetings! It’s important to have your voice heard. K.M.