About Consistency in Local Government Meetings- City of Glen Rose Town Council August 2010

Pet Peeve

About Consistency in Local Government Meetings- City of Glen Rose Town Council August 2010

28 August 2010 at 10:18:27 AM

Readers know this is a pet peeve of mine. I really like it when I go to a meeting, ANY MEETING, and the person running the meeting has control of it, and makes sure that the entire audience is considered.

Here's the principle. If you are going to tell people to come up to the podium to speak into the microphone, then MAKE THEM DO IT. ALL OF THEM. We already know that there are no speakers in the room so some in the audience can't hear people who talk in the audience. And we also know that even talking into the microphone isn't going to ensure that all hear because the microphones are wired into recording FOR the tape recorder, and, again, not any speakers. So the REASON you make a good recording and insist that people come speak into the microphone is to make a recording of what went on so that anyone AFTER the meeting can either hear it for the first time or go back to see if what they thought they heard was actually what was said. IF THE AUDIENCE DOESN'T SPEAK INTO THE MIKE, then the microphone is only going to poorly pick up comments from the audience, unless the person happens to speak really loud.

At the meeting on Monday, which started about 5 minutes late while while the councilpeople waited for Mayor Miller, Miller started well by telling people to come up to the mike if they had a comment. Doing that does NOT depend on the size of the crowd; if there were two people in the audience, those 2 people should still come up to the podium and speak into the microphone because it's for a RECORDING. But then, she did not consistently make people come to the podium. She didn't ask most of them to do it; one woman was coming up already to the podium on her own. I said before that when Barbara Mitchell did the meeting, she really worked to run it professionally and well, and that included having people come to the podium to speak. This video is a chop of just moments ABOUT speaking from the audience, so doesn't  have any of the meat of what the comments are about.

My point is that meetings CAN be run professionally, with consideration both for the audience that is attending, as well as for creating a good recording that others may want to listen to in the future.It all depends on the person running it to step up and DO it.

P.S. Also, IF a meeting is going to allow public comment on an agenda item, the AGENDA SHOULD SAY SO. Meetings are not the same thing as hearings.

UPDATE: 11/12/2010- The City now has a digital recorder, at TASCAM DR07 that has addtional microphones built in. It does a terrific job of picking up all the sounds in the room. The city has been testing it, along with the tapes, and has decided that it does a good enough job that people don't have to step up to the podium anymore. I agree that the sound is worlds better than the tape. That said, the issue of having speakers so that those who can't hear comments as well is still outstanding-when someone stands up and speaks, his or her back is to the audience.

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1 - glenrosefan   28 Aug 2010 @ 10:46:02 PM 

At what time is the city going to install speakers so it will be in compliance with ADA rules.  There are many individuals who are hearing impaired and they have a RIGHT to be able to hear the meetings, hearings or anything else that is open to the public.

2 - dukesplace   6 Sep 2010 @ 8:32:14 AM 

This segment of the meeting was not conducted well at all. There is an abundance of cross talking among the audience and the the speaker at the podium. A neutral observer who has any knowledge of meetings can see  this is an example of lack of leadership.

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