The Pryor Times

April 2, 2014

Public comment proposal shot down

Managing Editor
Kathy Parker

PRYOR, OK — Gary Dean presented a proposal to the Mayes County Commissioners at the Monday meeting to include a public comments section on the weekly agenda.

“I’m surprised to see Mr. (Ron) Coats on the agenda,” Dean said. “I assume he’s here to speak against it at your request, Mr. (Alva) Martin.”

“Let’s stick to the agenda,” Commissioner Chairman Darrell Yoder said.

“I think the citizens should have a chance to present their ideas to the board,” Dean said.

Some municipal meetings include a public comments section on the regular meeting agenda. This is what Dean is proposing.

“I hate to burst the bubble of Judge Dean,” Coats said, “but I support a public comments section. I’ll go further than that. I think there should be a question section that gets answers.”

“It is the privilege of the board to have or not to have public comments,” Yoder said. He said the commissioners did away with the section “about five years ago, because it gets heated and it gets carried away.

“I return all phone calls and will talk to anyone. If an issue has to do with all the county, it can be put on the agenda.”

District 3 Commissioner Ryan Ball said he can see both sides of the issue. “I would be in favor of a public comment section on the agenda,” Ball said.

Martin, District 1  Commissioner, said he is against including a public comments section on the agenda.

A proclamation was read concerning the filing and election of a court clerk. Due to the retirement of Lori Parsons, an unexpired term must be filled.

Anyone wishing to run for the court clerk position may file April 9, 10 and 11. The election will run concurrent with the primary, run-off and general election dates, June 24, Aug. 24 and Nov. 4, respectively.

The commissioners approved renting a large crane to work on the Snake Creek Bridge project in District 3.

Ball said the bridge is a precast structure in three sections of 15 pieces each.

The large crane is needed to handle the weight and reach far enough to set the pieces.

One bid was received from Bennett Steel, Inc. for a 400-ton crane at $595 per hour.

“They charge from the time they leave,” Martin said.

“We’re talking two days at the most,” Ball said. “That fits in the budget.”

The bid was approved.

An item was tabled for one week concerning the hiring of dispatchers.

“It doesn’t say who we are hiring dispatchers for,” Yoder said.

An item was tabled for one week concerning a trunk like for transferring 911 calls.

Sheriff Mike Reed said he “doesn’t have it all figured out yet. Maybe if it wouldn’t be too much trouble we could table it a week for me to do more research.”

There is a disagreement with Southwestern Bell over a land line charge to transfer calls from the police department to the 911 center. The item was tabled.

Two self-contained breathing apparatus seats were transferred from Pryor Fire Department to Osage Fire Department.

“These are two SCBA seats we have stored,” Pryor Fire Chief Tim Thompson said. The equipment has the breathing apparatus already attached to the tanks. The idea is for firefighters to be able to put the gear on going down the road, but since firefighters must wear their seatbelts, this has been problematic, Thompson said.

“We haven’t been able to make them work, but Osage is welcome to try,” Thompson said.