In a move Kane County Board members left on the outside believe undercuts their ability to serve, Chairman Chris Lauzen implemented a new policy Wednesday blocking 10 officials from speaking during Lauzen's Executive Committee meetings.
Lauzen sent out an email to board members Tuesday afternoon outlining a policy that requires the 10 county board members to sign up, in advance, as a member of the public if they wish to comment at the Executive Committee meetings. As members of the public, those 10 board members would be limited to three minutes and topics only on the agenda.
Lauzen implemented a similar policy last month. He told reporters it was a one-time move to speed along an unusually busy agenda. The one-time part proved untrue Wednesday, to the chagrin of several non-Executive Committee members.
Mark Davoust is one of the 10 county board members left off the committee by Lauzen.
"It seems ridiculous to me that I have to come in here as a member of the public to speak," Davoust said. "I was elected by the public to speak."
He pointed out that all county board members are allowed to speak at lower-level committee meetings and the full board meeting. However, the Executive Committee is often the first time board members hear all the background on a pending vote.
That's a big problem, said county board member Jesse Vazquez, because a majority of the county board, 14 members, sit on the Executive Committee. That makes the full county board meeting mostly a rubber stamp for the Executive Committee, Vazquez said.
"You've got to allow time for a full discussion of all the important issues in the county," Vazquez said. "And that discussion should be open to all board members at all levels, as well as the public."
Lauzen said, contrary to those views, he welcomes any and all comments. The public sign-in he's mandating is to know how much time is needed to address each topic and conduct an orderly meeting, he said.
"This is not the last step of the process," Lauzen said. "This is, as Shakespeare would say, much ado about nothing. For these guys who are complaining, you should ask what you're producing of value in your service that matters to your constituents. We have bigger issues. Quit your bellyaching."