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Competing proposals would change public comment for Wilmington City Council

Delaware Public Media

Wilmington City Council is set to consider two different proposals to revamp public participation in its meetings Thursday. 

Both proposals would reverse the rule limiting public comment to City of Wilmington residents and taxpayers. That measure by Councilman Chris Johnson passed last month the day the new council was sworn in. 

One proposed resolution—by Councilwoman Linda Gray—would allow “real-time” commenting on each agenda item as it comes up for discussion. She argued at a committee meeting last week this is best for the public.

“If people are speaking during the legislative period, they’re only speaking on the legislation,”  Gray said. “They get an opportunity to have heard what their councilperson said, their opinion, possibly how they’re going to vote on the legislation. And then they can react.”

A competing proposal—by freshman Councilman Nathan Field—would set an extendable 30-minute period before the council meeting starts for public comment on topics germane to the agenda. 

“It aims to expand opportunities for public comment, while ensuring that the meetings themselves are primarily focused on the 13 public officials addressing, discussing and hopefully solving the problems facing the City of Wilmington,” Field said at last week’s committee meeting.

Some council members, including Council President Trippi Congo, worried that other members would not show up for public comment if it weren’t during the official meeting.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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