by Lisa Tome
For more than a year, Rising Sun resident Jeff Aughenbaugh has turned out regularly at town meetings, speaking each time during the public comment portion.
Aughenbaugh often reads from the Maryland Constitution, focusing on portions that state that elected officials must believe in God.
Now that Resolution 2013-04 is in effect, Aughenbaugh's time at the podium has been cut from 10 minutes to three minutes. At the September 24 meeting, Aughenbaugh requested and was granted permission to be on the agenda, meaning his time to speak wasn't limited.
He used his time to tackle aspects of the resolution which he believes are unjust. He questioned the right of board members to bar someone from attending meetings. He said those banned should receive written notification. He also takes exception to not addressing individual board members.
"If you have issues with a particular commissioner due to the execution of their duties, it is out of place not to address it to them," said Aughenbaugh. He also said it may be unconstitutional for this to be allowed.
He also said that three minutes of speaking is repressive for those who are not accustomed to public speaking. He also asked for a digital clock to be used as a timer and displayed. "One of the things you're trying to accomplish is a civil meeting. If I'm in mid sentence and you cut me off mid sentence, I think that's rude," he said.
He also said that the portion of the resolution that requires speakers to talk about only of town business should be eliminated. He said people should be able to talk about whatever they wish.
Aughenbaugh was given unlimited time to address the board. When public comment rolled around, he stood up to speak again. He began reading the Declaration of Rights.
Mayor Fisher told Aughenbaugh that he needs to speak about town business. "You all took an oath to uphold the Maryland Constitution," said Aughenbaugh.
Commissioner George Walker reminded Aughenbaugh that he was allowed to speak earlier. Commissioner Lyn Dugger said she wanted to hear what Aughenbaugh had to say.
Aughenbaugh continued, wrapping up his public comment time by stating "the pathway to hell is paved with good intention."
Town administrator Calvin Bonenberger said that Resolution 2013-04 didn't really change much of what was already in the town code. He said the only big alteration was changing the time allotted to three minutes.
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