Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Public Meetings - How public?

Should meetings of all boards and commissions of the City of Woodstock be open to the public?

Does "open" mean the public knows about the meetings?

The 2009 Calendar of Meetings of Woodstock's Boards and Commissions has not yet posted on the City's website. When it is, you'll it from the homepage. Go to www.woodstockil.gov and then look down the left side. Find "Boards and Commissions". Roll your mouse over it (don't click yet) and then click on Schedule of Meetings.

A quick glance at the 2008 Calendar shows no scheduled meetings for the Liquor Commission. Apparently, the Liquor Commission, chaired by Mayor Sager, held no Regular Meetings in 2008. All meetings must have been Special Meetings. Special Meetings require only 48 hours' notice to members of the commission and to the press, which virtually eliminates any attendance by the public, because the public won't know about the Special Meetings until after they are held.

The Board of Police and Fire Commissioners meets at police headquarters, upstairs in the second floor conference room of the police chief. In order to go to the room, you must request admittance at the glass security window and then be admitted and escorted upstairs to the conference room. While you are inside police headquarters, your movements may be recorded - videotaped and aurally recorded.

Is that open access?

I believe that the BOPFC meetings should be moved to City Hall, where other commissions of the City meet. Then anyone who wanted to attend could just walk in, listen to whatever portion of the meeting he wished to, and leave. More citizen involvement might result, and citizens might begin to offer suggestions and ideas to the BOFPC for its consideration in the performance of its charter.

Thoughts? Should the BOFPC meet at City Hall?

1 comment:

Richard W Gorski, M.D. said...

Yes, the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners should meet at City Hall and be open to the public. Having it in the Police Dept. seems as though the Chief of Police is hosting it and he is in charge.....NOT!