Win Some, Lose Some

At the December 2010 meeting of the Finance, Administration & Policy (F&A) committee, I brought up three issues from my campaign: webcasting, more recorded votes, and letting people speak at meetings. Of the three, one was rejected and two are now under consideration.

I asked that meetings of the standing committees be webcast so that people can "attend" meetings from home. Town staff has looked at this issue before. The system requires hardware, including microphones, in the chamber. Microphones may be installed in 2012 as part of the Town’s accessibility plan. Webcasting can piggyback on that if it happens.

I asked for an automatic recorded vote on significant issues. After some discussion, the majority rejected the idea. Since any councillor can ask for a recorded vote at any time, most felt that was good enough. (Note: The majority of votes are non-controversial, such as simple motions to accept correspondence or minutes of past meetings. A recorded vote for each would take too much time.)

I asked that people be allowed to speak at committee meetings—a soapbox interlude—in addition to speakers in pre-arranged delegations. Councillors Wilkinson and Cameron supported this concept. The committee tasked us with developing guidelines for presentation latter.

Update: We presented the soapbox proposal in late March, 2011. Click here to find out what happened.

As a newbie, I had no idea how the committee would respond to my suggestions. In each case, the debate was reasoned and reasonable. I am pleased two ideas will move forward and I never expected to have all my suggestions accepted.


Anonymous said...

I hope you win on the point of speaking at meetings. Often, as a delegation, you only get to say your piece and no follow-up opportunities unless a councillor is allowed to ask a question of the delegate. It's a good strategy for you to use this technique as often as possible. Ask as many intelligent questions as you can think of. The delegate will remember you for this. Also, it's great if other members present can ask questions or commont on the delegate's presentation.