A series of listening sessions are underway around Davidson County with the mission of making Metro Council business more transparent — receiving public input on the best ways to receive public input.
The transparency committee is considering three primary reforms:
- developing an online “petition” system to allow residents to signal to the council what they want addressed;
- possible regional meetings around the county so that constituents aren’t required to come downtown for meetings; and
- a revised public comment format during some council meetings.
The existing rules over public comments were tested back in February, when a protest disrupted a meeting. At the time, residents wanted the council to discuss a Metro officer’s fatal shooting of a man at the Cayce Homes.
While the council rules don’t permit open comments — if an issue isn’t on the agenda — the council eventually relented that night, in what Vice Mayor David Briley called an “extraordinary moment in the history of the council.”
“We may have struggled a little tonight to get you a chance to be heard,” Briley said at the time. “We’re ready to listen and to take action to address the problems of our community.”
The meeting added urgency to a council goal of finding better ways to better listen to citizens, Briley told WPLN.
“The public really had things to say … the question is: Are we adequately equipped to hear from the public about what their concerns are?”
The series of seven meetings began this week and will take place at the following times and locations:
- Southwest — 6 p.m. Tuesday at West Police Precinct
- Southeast — 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 7 at South East Community Center
- Northeast — 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 at Madison Police Precinct
- Northwest — 6 p.m. on Aug. 17, at Hobson United Methodist Church
- Central South — 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 22 at West End Middle School
- Central East — 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 at Coleman Park Community Center