Rules for Public Comment
The Gaston County Board of Commissioners hold their regularly scheduled meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each Month, 6:00 PM, at the Gaston County Courthouse, 325 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Way, in the Harley B. Gaston, Jr., Public Forum - second floor.
- Work Session Meetings (Non-Voting) - second Tuesday 6:00 p.m.
- Regular Meetings (Voting) - fourth Tuesday 6:00 p.m.
A public comment period is provided at both regular meetings. Citizens wishing to address the Board will sign up to speak at the meeting.
The following Rules of Decorum (Resolution 2021-144, May 25, 2021) shall be followed throughout all public comment periods and administered in a content-neutral manner to ensure that this part of the Agenda is conducted in a civil and orderly manner:
- Each speaker is allocated three (3) minutes to speak. No public comment period shall extend beyond one (1) hour, unless the Chairman or presiding officer elects in his or her discretion to extend the overall time period.
- A speaker may not share or relinquish any remaining time they have not used to another speaker.
- Speakers are only allowed to speak one (1) time during the public comment period.
- A person may speak only if they have signed up to speak in accordance with the Board’s procedures. Speaker substitutions at the meeting are not allowed.
- Speakers shall provide their name and address at the start of their comments.
- Speakers shall refrain from personal attacks and/or threats directed towards County staff, elected Board members, or members of the public.
- Speakers shall be civil and courteous in their language and presentation. Insults, profanity, use of vulgar language or gestures, or other inappropriate behavior are not allowed.
- Speakers shall address the Chairman with any and all public comments. Comments, questions, jeering, or other interruptions from the audience are not allowed. Speakers shall likewise not address or respond to members of the audience.
- Speakers should not expect Board members to comment on or respond to their comments directly during the meeting. The Chairman, or presiding officer may, however, request the County Manager’s office to follow up with a speaker after the meeting or provide additional information to the Board at a later date.
- The Chairman, or presiding officer, has the authority to enforce the Rules of Decorum. Failure to obey these Rules may result in the forfeiture of the remaining speaking time and possible criminal charges. Individuals who engage in egregious or repeated violations may be asked to leave the meeting. Speakers and members of the audience should note the following legal provision from North Carolina General Statute § 143-318.17:
“A person who willfully interrupts, disturbs, or disrupts an official meeting and who, upon being directed to leave the meeting by the presiding officer, willfully refuses to leave the meeting is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”