OUR VIEW: How to get the public to attend more board meetings more

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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We spent several hours of our Monday talking to people in the community, upset one way or the other, about the incident involving Long Cane Middle School.

And as our coverage on that continues, we spent about an hour at Monday’s Troup County Parks and Recreation Department board meeting, which is usually a fairly mundane discussion about all of the various activities the county is offering youth in our community. 

Monday’s meeting was orderly, but it was also packed. From wall to wall, just about every seat was taken in a large room at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center. There were also some people standing along the wall.

It was the scene of a community rally around a team and football players and in support of a coach who has been relieved of his coaching duties after his players were videoed hitting a table with a baseball bat in celebration.

And while there’s plenty of opinion on how that situation should be handled, we want to actually go in another direction: We were happy just to see people actually attending a public meetings.

Earlier this month, the Troup County School Board, held its work session and meeting, and the audience was extremely small. In fact, at the work session, we’re pretty sure every single person in the audience — about five people — actually worked for the school system. The board meeting had a fairly small audience as well, though more people showed up due to student and staff recognitions.

We’re guessing that most citizens in our community could not tell you when the Troup County Commission, LaGrange City Council, Hogansville City Council, West Point City Council or Troup County School Board hold public meetings. All of those meetings are regularly scheduled on a public calendar and follow the same monthly timeframe, though holidays sometimes change the schedule.

It’s great when our community wants to be informed. And while we understand there will always be more interest when there’s a local controversy, we wish more people in general attended meetings so they’d know what’s going on. Our job as a newspaper is to run around to all of them and bring you as much information as possible, but those meetings are always there and available for the public to attend. We’d love to see more interest and more participation from the public at large.