by STEVE GRIMM
Cannon Township Supervisor
The Cannon Township Board has always focused on being open and transparent in the conduct of your business. When I became supervisor in January 2011, the Board allowed public comment in the beginning of every board meeting, and every person was allowed three minutes to comment. As of my first meeting as supervisor, we added public comment at the end of each meeting and removed the time limit. I have always felt that there should be no limit in Cannon Township on free speech, and if something was important enough for someone to take the time to come to a meeting, they should not be limited in the amount of time they have. We have said, however, that if a person has five minutes of something to say, they should to do it in five minutes, not six or ten.
We recently had over a hundred people at a board meeting when we were considering a revision to the Special Land Use Ordinance for recreational areas in Cannon Township, like, but not limited to, Cannonsburg Ski Area. Everyone at the meeting had an opportunity to address the Board, and everyone, without exception, had something meaningful to say. That was a very important moment for our township, because it proved that the changes I mentioned above work very, very well. Everyone was courteous and respectful, and the Board appreciated every word that was said.
As a result of this exercise in representative democracy, the Board was able to glean very important information and pass our concerns on to the Planning Commission for analysis and input. The Planning Commission then appointed a subcommittee to analyze those concerns. Then a subcommittee of the Board met with representatives of the Planning Commission, and came up with a very good ordinance, as well as an amended Outdoor Assembly ordinance. Best of all, we had input and advice from interested citizens in the subcommittee as well. In Cannon Township, we realize that the collective wisdom of her residents far outweighs that of her Board.
Taking things one step further, we recently changed the make-up of our sewer committee to include a board member who actually pays a sewer bill, Deb Diepenhorst, as well as residents of the township who similarly are on sewer. The advice and counsel of those residents has already begun to benefit the Township. Part of being open and transparent is first admitting that as an elected person, you don’t automatically know everything, and that’s okay.