Councilman Liuzzo Says Meeting Structure Can Be Intimidating

JAMESTOWN – A lack of participation in Jamestown City Council meetings is no secret, but City Councilman At-Large Andrew R. Liuzzo (R) believes there’s more to the story than a simple lack of interest in government affairs. 
Liuzzo, while appearing on WNYNewsNow’s NewsNow: New & Noteworthy, says that procedures and other various components of a typical meeting’s structure can often make a person hesitant to attend and voice their concerns.
“There’s kind of an intimidation factor of being into the City Council (meeting), not that it’s intended to be that way,” Liuzzo said. “You have a panel of councilpeople looking down from ideas at you, and that’s kind of a hard situation to get some interactive conversation.”
Those who address the council have five minutes to state their case, and they are required to state their address, for the record, before speaking. Liuzzo said, during a January interview, that most of the city council’s work and decision-making occurs in the work decisions, which indicates the voting and public input at regular meetings are a formality.

Image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.

Liuzzo said he plans to host an informal version of a City Council meeting from 6-8 pm on Tuesday, Aug. 28th at Love Elementary School, located near the corner of N. Main and E. 8th Streets. He explained the importance of citizens voicing their concerns, and the informal meeting will allow community members to voice their concerns without the risk of violating meeting rules.
“By talking to people, I felt that if we could offer a venue that’s informal, that doesn’t require protocol and procedure, you could just ask your elected official a question, you could maybe get a direct answer, ” Liuzzo stated.
The councilman at-large stated that he’s invited fellow councilmembers, Mayor Sam Teresi and other city officials and department heads to attend the meeting. In addition, County Executive George Borrello and New York State Assemblyman Andy Goodell are expected to attend.
Liuzzo also said that he’s reached out to New York State Senator Catherine Young’s office. He believes Young will either come, herself, or she’ll send a representative to the meeting.
A school supply will also coincide with the event, and Liuzzo urges those who attend to donate supplies for those who are in need.
Jamestown City Council will have an official work session on both Monday, Aug. 6th and Monday, Aug. 20th at 7:30 pm. The sessions will be held in the mayor’s conference room, located on the fourth floor of Jamestown City Hall.
The council’s regular voting session will be held in its chambers, located on the second floor of City Hall, on Monday, Aug. 27th at 7:30 pm.