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West Seneca Town Board creates 'rules of order' for board meetings

Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 21:29:00-05

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WKBW) — West Seneca Town Supervisor, Gary Dickson proposed more than a dozen rules for public meetings including one which prohibited any demonstrations from the public during official business.

"No member of the public shall engage in any demonstration, booing, hand clapping or otherwise disrupt the formality of a town board meeting," the rule stated.

Dickson introduced the proposal during the January 3 organizational meeting. But, it was tabled after some expressed concerns it violates First Amendment rights.

"Being a taxpayer, you should be able to express your feelings, or where else would you be able to express your feelings? " said West Seneca homeowner, James Sypniewski said early Monday.

Dickson said his rules were based on ones set forth by the Association of Towns, he also said he proposed the rules because they have never been established before.

Councilman Jeffrey Piekarec proposed an amendment which reads "To maintain proper decorum at town board meetings, no member of the public shall engage in any behavior that can be construed as obscene, threatening, violent, or that significantly obstructs the ability of the meeting to proceed. Engaging in this type of behavior may result in the board's decision to remove you from the meeting."

"I'm perfectly happy that we take our time, and get it right," said Dickson.

The proposal was discussed during the West Seneca Town Board meeting Monday night and an amended version of the proposal, which took away the board's ability to remove the public from the meetings, was passed by a 4-1 vote.