Mayor open to holding community meetings

  • Greenfield officials and residents are asking Mayor Roxann Wedegartner to hold regular community meetings to offer a more direct opportunity to get answers from the executive branch. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/26/2022 4:38:32 PM
Modified: 10/26/2022 4:38:17 PM

GREENFIELD — City officials and residents are asking the mayor to hold regular community meetings to offer a more direct opportunity to get answers from the executive branch.

The concept for a community meeting was pitched by At-Large Councilor Michael Terounzo and was met with support from city councilors and community members who spoke during a recent City Council meeting.

“I would be willing to do that; in fact, I would be happy to do it,” responded Mayor Roxann Wedegartner, noting she has given the idea “a great deal of thought.”

“As long as those were productive discussions versus attacks on the executive branch or attacks on the legislative branch … I think I would be more than happy to be part of those types of discussions,” she continued.

Wedegartner said these meetings could be held monthly or every other month, and could potentially be held based on precincts.

At-Large Councilor Penny Ricketts echoed Terounzo, who said residents often come to City Council with concerns that technically fall within the executive branch’s purview.

“I don’t mind that public comment takes up to the first two or three hours of our meetings and we don’t start until later,” she said. “We just don’t have much brain matter when we’re talking about millions of dollars.”

Precinct 7 Councilor Jasper Lapienski added that the benefit of commenting publicly to the mayor, as opposed to one-on-one, is that it’s aired on television.

“A lot more people get to see it, and a hundred people who thought they were the only ones thinking that get to see there’s someone else out there talking about it,” Lapienski said.

At-Large Councilor Christine Forgey, a former mayor, said she agrees it would be a “very good idea” to implement a community meeting, offering residents an opportunity for exchange with Wedegartner. She said meetings could be based on precincts or topics, for example.

“The other thing I think is very effective is … to schedule an afternoon … and just have people sign up for a quick, brief conversation with you in your office,” Forgey advised Wedegartner. “I think if you go with the idea that the door is open and people can feel comfortable coming in … that works as well.”

Wedegartner responded that she offers that availability on Mondays from 2 to 4 p.m. every other week. Forgey thanked Terounzo for bringing up the topic and encouraged the mayor to follow through.

“I think it’s very doable,” Forgey said. “And I would recommend that you embrace it wholeheartedly.”

Many residents who spoke to councilors last week were also reassured to hear support from the mayor about holding public meetings.

“Let’s set a date,” said resident Jon Magee. “We have lots of questions with nowhere to ask them. We want straight answers with evidence.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.


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