Below is a letter to the editor in the Harbor Country News from former City Council member Donna Messinger. Donna was motivated into running due in part to decisions being made by City Council members during hurriedly scheduled meetings with few if any citizens in attendance. The Council did not audio or video record their meetings, leaving the public uninformed for a month until the minutes were finally made available.
When Donna and the other new Council members made a commitment to sharing public information, it was greatly enhanced by video streamed meetings. This move for a more inclusive government was a public services for people who could not attend the meetings. Shut-in elderly, parents with small children, second home owners, evening shift workers or citizens who traveled all were encouraged to be included in public discourse through the resolution Donna helped pass. It was greatly appreciated by many of us who wish she was still on the Council. She never swayed from her commitment to transparency or representing the citizens instead of herself.
Letter to the Editor from Donna Messinger
Harbor Country News – March 7, 2018
When I was elected to the City Council, one of my most earnest campaign pledges was for more transparency at city hall, It became a reality when I voted with the majority of the council members for a new policy to provide live video stream of all public meetings.
I received many thanks from residents who said that they usually did not have the option to attend meetings but never failed to view the proceedings on the City’s web-site. I was proud of helping to increase transparency and government participation.
I can only hope the majority of the City Council members understand they hold the responsibility of both making and overturning policies at public meetings and that they take this issue up at their March meeting. The public has a right to public input and to hear the debate by their elected representatives concerning this important issue of transparency. Nobody can possibly think that $4,000 a year for the upkeep of the video streaming equipment is too high a price for open government.