Bridge City to citizen: go away!

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, May 15, 2018

By Bobby Tingle


Joseph Hannan seems to have gotten the brush off from the city council of Bridge City. His request for placement of an item on the agenda for the April 3 meeting was denied.

The city council has provided an avenue for citizens to place items on the agenda. Section 17 of the City of Bridge City Council Decorum and Procedures Policy spells it out very plainly.

The rule is titled, Citizens Requests for Placement of Items on the Agenda.

There are two parts to the rule.

The citizen must meet the time and mode constraints. The request has to be in writing. The request has to be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday preceding the meeting the following week.

The idea here it to ensure the request is clearly understood. Hence it must be in writing. As important as clarity is the matter of allowing enough time for the request to be researched by the appropriate respondents to ensure an accurate and full response.

Neither of these requirements seems out of line.

What is conspicuously missing is a definition of how the city council can deny a request.

The implication, if you read through the policy, is the council will include your item on the agenda if you meet the time and mode constraints.

Get it to them on time and clearly articulated in writing and it will appear on the agenda.

Nowhere is it stated in the policy the rules for denying a citizens request.

Section 6e of the policy does state, however, ‘councilmembers must represent unconflicted loyalty to the interest of the citizens of the entire city.’

Ensuring all citizen requests for items on the agenda certainly flows well with the council’s policy to represent citizen’s interests.

Hannan, initially, requested city drainage issues be discussed at the April 3 meeting. His request was emailed to the city secretary on March 21. His request was on time but not clearly defined.

More specifically, his initial request was sent to the city attorney who determined the request must be ‘more specific in nature.’

Hannan received the denial on the evening of March 22.

Later in the same evening, Hannan amended his request to five specific points. He wanted to discuss; drainage between two specified streets, repair status of a cracked underground pipe under a residents home, the maintenance schedule for drainage infrastructure, the city manager’s schedule for assessing drainage issues and an accounting of the duties normally fulfilled by the Public Works Director.

According to the email stamp, Hannan sent his detailed request the evening of March 22, about four days prior to the deadline.

City Attorney Paul Fuduka responded to the second request the afternoon of March 23.

Hannan was denied.

The reason: ‘your request has highlighted a deficiency we have in our policy.’

If you are a citizen of Bridge City I suggest you get a copy of the policy and read section 17.

The rules, are clear. Hannan’s request met the requirements.

But he was still denied.

A perfectly reasonable explanation may be forthcoming from Fukuda or a councilmember.

At the time of this writing, a request for clarification had not been received.

Citizens of Bridge City deserve clear and predictable rules to follow.

Citizens of Bridge City also deserve servant leaders willing to address concerns.

Sometimes concerns may be difficult.

Sometimes concerns reveal problems, which have been left uncorrected.

But, citizens deserve the attention the council has pledged to provide to each and every citizen.

It is time for the council to answer the hard questions brought about by their denial of this citizen’s request.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at