As a former newspaper publisher and a Haines Borough Assembly member who
pushed to get a second public comment period on assembly meeting agendas, I am
sensitive to complaints that I limited free speech or censored public comment at
Tuesday’s Haines Borough Assembly meeting.

As meeting chair, it’s my job to maintain order and decorum during meetings.
During public comment at Tuesday’s meeting, a citizen raised an issue about an
individual assembly member’s statement that was in response to a previous public
exchange between the individual and the assembly member.

As chair, I ruled that that matter not be addressed during “public comment” but
that the citizen and assembly member should resolve the matter privately.
Assembly meetings are business meetings of our elected leaders to address items
on the meeting agenda. During public comments, the assembly invites citizens to
address them on public issues and issues of community concern. In the interest of
civility, citizens are asked to speak respectfully, to address the entire assembly and
to not make personal attacks.

Tom Morphet – Haines Borough Mayor