FERGUS FALLS -- An open forum, a dedicated time for the public to address the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners, will commence on Tuesday, March 17, when the county board holds its next regular meeting in Perham at the city hall.

Those who want to address the board, from 4:45 to 5 p.m., must arrange for this no later than noon on Monday, March 16. This can be done through the county website.

The request must include the participant’s name, address and a brief detailed statement of the comment or issue to be addressed.

The county board of commissioners reviewed the new policy Tuesday, March 3, and gave a formal approval.

The county board chairman may limit the number of individual presentations on any issue. This will accommodate time set aside for the open forum session.

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Requests to participate in the open forum will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

When addressing the board, the speaker must stand at the podium and direct comments to the county board, beginning by stating his or her name. Speakers will have a maximum of three minutes to address the county board.

Open forum comments may be limited if they become redundant, repetitive, irrelevant, argumentative, disrespectful, disparaging, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, or do not relate to official county business.

The new policy also states that participants “shall conduct themselves in a professional, courteous manner and refrain from the use of profanity. Campaign-type presentations are not allowed.”

County board members will not engage in dialogue with speakers and may refer the issue to county staff if necessary. Materials or handouts submitted are public information.

For more information contact Tara Bakken at the county government services center in Fergus Falls at 218-998-8051. Her email is tbakken@co.ottertail.mn.us.