Plano City Council OKs new public comment rules in split vote

Council meetings two public comment portions to be limited to 30 minutes.

Residents who wish to address the Plano City Council will now be limited to five minutes each, per a new resolution adopted Monday night, July 26 on a 4-2 vote.

Public comment at the beginning and end of council meetings cannot exceed 30 minutes in total, though officials can “expand the numbers of those permitted to speak” on their own discretion, according to a text of the new rules. Comments must also be limited to agenda items at the beginning of the meeting, while residents can opine on any topic they choose come meeting’s end.

Two aldermen, Ben Eaton and Stephen DeBolt, voted against the measure. Eaton cited First Amendment concerns after casting his no vote.

But the rules on limiting public comment went out the window rather quickly Monday night. During the meeting’s last public comment portion, Plano resident Joe Salsbery spoke for about 15 months to decry responses to nearly two dozen Freedom of Information of Act requests he had made to the city. Salsbery has regularly denounced city officials at meetings, angry over citations reportedly given to his property.