DeKalb County commissioners ask for names not to be mentioned at - CBS46 News

DeKalb County commissioners ask for names not to be mentioned at public meeting

Posted: Updated:
(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)
DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

DeKalb County commissioners actually told people not to say their names during a public meeting. Taxpayers say they believe the new rule was put in place so commissioners wouldn't be humiliated when someone called them out for doing a poor job.

But it doesn't exactly jive with the first amendment.

Taxpayers blasted the officials at a commission meeting in Decatur on Tuesday after the board implemented the new rule, prohibiting taxpayers from mentioning a commissioner's name during public comment. 

"You're getting an ethics complaint, each of you, on violation of our freedom of speech," said taxpayer Jerry Jackson. 

"With this rule, the message that you're sending to us the public is that you hold yourselves above our constitutional rights," said taxpayer Beth Long. "We the public are the ones who put you in those seats."

"Now I'm going to call each one of your names, Larry Johnson," said Ruby Davis at a previous meeting before she was interrupted by Johnson as he told her they were there to talk issues.

"That's my first amendment right of freedom of speech," Davis later said. "They forget that they're supposed to work for the taxpayers. They believe the taxpayers work for them."

"Furthermore, the county's own written comment policy does not address using a commissioner's name during public comment time," said taxpayer Jeff Long. 'If you don't want your name mentioned during public comment time, then stop doing outrageous, offensive, illegal and quite frankly, stupid things."

After getting an earful, commissioners backed off the rule Tuesday, but there's one commissioner that found a way to get around all of it. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton typically shows up late and avoids public comment. On Tuesday, she was two hours late.

Copyright 2016 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.