Monday, June 16, 2014

Promoting Sunshine on Strategic Planning Event

City Council meets tomorrow to approve minutes of their June 3rd council meeting and a June 10 strategic planning session held at Fort Chadbourne.  Neither set of minutes are yet available on the city's website.  Also not available is any video of the June 10th meeting.

Here's my interchange with Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson:

SOD:  Will the city post video from this week's City Council planning work session?  6-13-14 @ 8:53 am

Wilson:   No

SOD:  If not, can I get a copy?  6-13-14 @ 8:55 am

Wilson:  There is no video of the meeting

SOD:  That's a change in practice from the last several years.  Who decided not to record the event?  6-13-14 @ 8:58 am

Wilson:  Public Information is equipped to record board, commission and Council meetings in the Council chambers. We are not equipped to film such a meeting in a remote location.

SOD:  I'd appreciate copies of the materials council received, documents used during the session and minutes showing priorities, decisions and actions as a result of the day long planning session.  I expect these are electronic and can be attached to an e-mail.  6-13-14 @ 10:12 am

Wilson:   I’ve forwarded your request to the City Clerk.

SOD:   One might expect this information to be available to the public via the city's website. I've been able to watch the last several strategic planning workshops on the City's YouTube channel, thus no need for the documents I requested. If it wasn't taped, it seems the public should have access to information used in the session and any conclusions, decisions, priorities, etc. established as a result. Any chance of posting the documents on the city's website?  6-13-14 @ 6:09 pm

Wilson:   I've forwarded your request to the City Clerk, who would have any such materials and is responsible for posting City Council-related documents on the Council's web page.

Prior strategic planning sessions revealed critical strategies, like City Councilman Kendall Hirschfeld's challenge to hold employee/retiree health insurance cost steady when area employers experienced 30% premium increases.  I found about that priority by watching the taped City Council planning session.  That can't happen this year.

I recognize the complexity of video taping an event with multiple speakers at a site like Fort Chadbourne, but the Public Information Office seems to do just fine with other remote recordings.

It seems within the department's capability to audio tape the event.  Surely one or two digital audio recorders (roughly $100 apiece) could've done the trick.

Mayor Morrison promised sunshine into Council's affairs.  I'm hoping more will peak through on the strategic planning session.  It used to make good theater.

1 comment:

Jim Turner said...

The city has the equipment and capabilities to video tape events such as the work shop. They have taped events and meetings like this on location in the past. If they didn't do it this time it was by choice not because of lack of equipment or capability.

The vision statement was pretty much the property of Paul Alexander. He brought it up almost every council meeting. It was his campaign platform for his run for Mayor. When he lost, interest pretty much died. The fact that no one, including Paul, ever once stated what made a city "desirable" might have had something to do with it. It's such an open ended statement that all you have to do is wait until 2027 and say the city we have today is the most desirable. Prove me wrong.

Last thing is that almost all modern research shows that incentives don't create jobs. Best case they might move some jobs around. Most of the time all incentives do is create photo ops at ribbon cuttings for businesses that will be gone at the end of the incentive package.

Governments don't create jobs except by expanding government payrolls. You want jobs have the government concentrate on an environment where companies and jobs can grow. The truth of the matter is that many of the largest, most successful companies in the world today were started in garages, dorm rooms, or homes years ago. None of them could legally start in San Angelo today.