The Pulaski Township supervisors have new rules for public meetings.
At their meeting Monday, the supervisors unanimously approved a new policy on recording meetings.
While state law protects the right of anyone to audio or video record a public government meeting, the supervisors will now restrict anyone recording a meeting to the back of the township meeting room.
The rule will cover all meetings of the supervisors, the planning commission and zoning hearing board, according to Supervisor Lori Sniezek, who read the policy.
It states that any violations will be considered a disruption of a public hearing. Violators will be asked to “cease and desist” and if they do not, would be required to surrender their recording device, she said. If the violator still persists, he or she would be escorted from the building, Sniezek said.
No copies of the new policy were available to the public at the meeting. The New Castle News was told that in order to obtain a copy, it had to file a written public information request, which the township accepts only during regular business hours. The News did so Tuesday during business hours and is waiting for a copy of the new rules.
The township has five business days to fill the request, under the state open records law.
Also Monday, Supervisor Sam Varano announced another new township rule that all questions from the public now must be asked during the meeting.
He said the supervisors will not speak with any member of the public after the meeting. He instructed those attending Monday that when the supervisors exited at the end of the meeting, no one was to approach them or ask them questions.
He said the supervisors had “been advised” to do this, in order to avoid violations of the “Sunshine Law.”
When asked by The News whether this applies to routine questions such as spellings or clarification of meeting business, Varano said it does and declined to answer any such questions.
He repeated that the supervisors had been advised to operate in this manner.
The township’s solicitor, Richard Harper, did not attend Monday’s meeting and attempts to reach him Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Video recording of meetings has been an issue in Pulaski, where a township police officer seized one resident’s recording device during a meeting in July 2013, after she had refused to stop recording. The device was later returned and Harper stated it is legal to record a meeting.
Since then, several people have been recording township meetings and hearings on various devices.