The Yorktown Town Board has decided to diminish the privilege of courtesy of the floor (aka public comment) by moving the one remaining public comment segment from the beginning of the meeting to the end of the meeting. This means that all agenda items will be discussed without prior public comment unless the agenda items are up for public hearing or announced many weeks in advance. Given the fact that board agendas have been published the same day as the meetings and some items have been added at the last minute, the public has immediately become disenfranchised from any public input to help in the decision-making process of our elected officials before votes are cast. This is a significant change for the citizens of Yorktown that has coincided with the New Year and our newly elected Town Board.

Courtesy of the floor, which allows citizens the opportunity to comment about issues of public concern, is a privilege that is given to the public by the supervisor and the board; it is not a right. Unfortunately, this privilege has been abused for deliberate political manipulation, personal grievances and self-promotion.

We should not allow the behavior of a few to ruin this privilege for the vast majority of respectful citizens. Please write to letters to Supervisor Grace and Councilpersons Patel, Bernard, Diana and Lachterman (email addresses at yorktownny.org/townboard) and ask them to restore the two courtesy of the floor segments (before and after agenda business). Let’s keep the communication between the public and the Town Board moving forward instead of backward.