Gatlinburg wildfire survivors start online petition against new resolution

Photo: WKRN

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – Some survivors of the Gatlinburg wildfire do not believe the newest resolution from the city commission meetings ask the right questions.

“Five days isn’t a problem for me. It’s the part that they can vote to decide which questions get asked and which ones don’t,” explained Lauren Meier.

Meier says she feels like basic rights of freedom of speech are being taken away by the Resolution 939, which states a person must now sign up to talk five days before the meeting. Also, the person must state the subject that they will address.

The speaker will have three minutes to talk and the board will also have the right to deny a request.

Meier and others have signed an online petition against the resolution.

“We’ve been asking questions, they sit at the panel and stare at us,” said Meir. “They always say they can’t talk because they’re under this gag request. The odds of the timing is very strange to me. So, then we thought we’re going to get these questions.”

Mayor Mike Werner said the meetings were not as productive as he would like. He hopes the resolution will allow commissioners to research and hopefully answer questions.

Also, the mayor says the new rules follow the same format as Sevier County Commission meetings. He says some people have spoken at those meetings with no complaints.

These new rules will be applied for the next city commission meeting on July 18.

Click here for complete coverage on the Sevier County wildfires.