Madison Township ponders public comments

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

To post or not to post…that is the question facing Madison Township trustees as they debate the merits and pitfalls of allowing public comments to appear on township social media pages.

“Currently, those comments are hidden,” said Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst during a Jan. 19 trustees’ meeting. “A trial period has been suggested.”

Trustee Chairman John Pritchard said he was concerned about having public comments viewable on social media because of the potential for name-calling, vulgar or racist posts and concerns about personal rights. He felt it was prudent to speak with the prosecutor’s office before making any decisions.

“If we start restricting comments, it opens up the possibility for a lawsuit about someone’s first amendment rights,” said Pritchard. “If you have filters on there, you are still walking down the same path.”

Trustee Ed Dildine said the trustees do not want to offend anybody or get anyone in trouble.

“I would like to know how we can do it and do it appropriately,” added Trustee Michele Reynolds, who said she was also approached by citizens asking for a second public comment period on the regular meeting agenda. “If we’re going to do it, do it where it’s most helpful.

Adding a second public comment opportunity during regular meetings was also up for discussion during the Jan. 19 meeting. Dildine felt if the trustees decide to adopt the policy, there needs to be a time limit placed on the comment period.

Other township news
•Pritchard announced the township is now posting department statistics on the township website at www.madisontownship.org.

“We’re an open book,” said Pritchard, who asked visitors to the site to let the township know if they would like to see any changes to the way information is shared.

“There may be a way we put it out there that makes perfect sense to us, but it may be a foreign language to others,” he said.

•Fire Chief Derek Robinson said, at the current time, the fire department is not approved to be a site for COVID-19 vaccination, but it is something his department is working towards.

“There is quite a bit of red tape through Franklin County,” said Robinson. “We’re looking at how to make that a possibility. I can’t make any promises.”

Reynolds said people looking for vaccine information should visit coronavirus.ohio.us.

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