Tuesday evening, July 21, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors had an open forum for sharing views regarding the relocation of the Confederate statue on the grounds of the Franklin County courthouse. As anticipated, there was a large turnout to share their opinions, pro and con, as well as a large number there simply to hear such views. Only about 40 or so people were appropriately distantly seated in the board room. While outside people were in crowded lanes with no regard to social distancing or masks. This is outside in 95-degree, sweltering heat where dozens of attendees stood for hours with no previously requested audio facilities provided for anyone to hear anything. This was the reason many attended — to hear different opinions. As one left the meeting, another was escorted in to give a three-minute presentation and promptly escorted out. No speaker had the opportunity to hear anything previously.
To apply salt to the wound, they were escorted in the door, appropriately checked, and then taken through an entirely vacant, giant air-conditioned lobby with nobody in it. This was more than sufficient to accommodate the dozens outside in the sweltering heat for hours with social distancing possible inside.
An additional insult for our citizens was that this took place at the sumptuous exorbitantly expensive “Taj Mahal” county government center that these citizens helped pay for. In addition, it was previously assured to citizens who registered that their names, addresses and phone numbers, as requested, would be held confidential. It was witnessed that both lists of speakers and attendees were left unattended on a table near the entrance, and they were perused and photographed by attendees. This is unconscionable treatment of Franklin County citizens interested enough to come and share their opinions or gain insight into other views. I feel they deserve an apology.
Mr. Chairman, you need to heed my summary, “we all need to love and respect our fellow man and work together.” This applies to our citizens who hope for better accommodations, a loudspeaker and better utilization of our facilities for the future.
Dr. J. Francis Amos
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