After seven years on the ESM school board (one as president) and four-plus years on the Manlius Town Board, I feel that I know a little about behavior at public meetings. A public meeting of any kind is a "meeting to which the public is invited." Invited to attend by law but not to speak unless invited to do so. Almost 100 percent of all people who speak could have their problem solved at another level of the government. They mostly opine, obstruct, politicize or all of the above, and their speeches get worse in the election season as they try to influence the outcomes. Their churlish, belligerent, abject, uncivil and often ill-mannered rantings make all in attendance uneasy.
- Public participation at board meetings is a privilege that all towns want to extend, however, along with that privilege comes responsibility.
- Joe Novek continues to abuse the privilege by making ridiculous allegations against the town and publicly berating public officials, Town employees and others.
- Novek's "truth" is only in his mind. He has sued the town at least a half dozen times and has brought claims with enforcement and administrative agencies at least that many times. His claims have failed each time. His litigious and confrontational nature has cost the town not only in dollars (probably tens of thousands) but in time and employee moral.
- It's the town's responsibility to make sure town meetings are run effectively and efficiently.
- When people are asked to follow the rules and they continue to ignore those requests, something has to be done.
- I applaud the town board for finally trying to make town meetings an informational and good experience rather than a forum to air the grievances of a few disgruntled people who have no legitimate claim against the town.
- The only thing "un-American" about this situation is Novek's use of our democratic system to further his mean spirited and illegitimate claims.
Enough is enough!
Paul E. Susco, East Syracuse