Friday, January 18, 2008

TWO NEW OPEN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES FROM THE TOWN CLERK

Two new open government initiatives--thanks to Town Clerk Judith Beville:
1) summaries of previous work session posted on work session agenda.
2) Residents who complete a form to speak at Town Board meetings can check off a box. If they have a question and want it answered (assuming the question is not answered on the spot), they can give their name, contact info and the question will be answered by a town official. In addition, residents who speak at Board meetings can provide the clerk with a summary of comments which will be included in the Board minutes.

SINCE JUDITH BEVILLE ASSUMED OFFICE ON JAN 1 SHE HAS...
arranged to televise work sessions live ... NEW
posted agenda notices re: work sessions on Friday before Tuesday meetings NEW


COMING SOON
TOWN BD WORK SESSIONS AND BD MEETINGS TO BE STREAMED LIVE ON THE INTERNET

1 comments:

hal samis said...

Were I only not so involved with explaining what is wrong with the Library that I would have more time to comment here.

This subject initiative is a positive step and adds credence to the campaign theme of what is popularly known as "the Feiner team" that it would embark on a new era of open government and recognition of the concerns of residents.

Those of us who are regularly involved, either as speakers at Town meetings, writers on this blog, members of Town-created committees, boards or independent civic associations or, just anonymous citizens with low profiles, all should be grateful for the new direction of making our government function as a two-way street.

Too often in the past have communications to the Town fallen on deaf ears, been relegated to the Town equivalent of "Siberia" while possibly in matters when concerns have been heard or even taken into consideration, the public has been stone-walled; the Town Board never even giving any acknowledgement that what was said was received.

The new message from the Town Board and the Town Clerk is that what gets mentioned or delivered to Town Hall will be heard, will be considered and even, if not acted upon, that there will be a public record that it arrived.

The posting of the Town Board work session agenda, on Friday before its Tuesday meet, is a major, major addition to keeping the public in the loop. Work sessions are where the Town Board learns and discusses what they often vote on, sometimes at the next day's Town Board meeting. The public has the opportunity to observe how the final vote evolved from intake to resolution -- and often to contribute as well. In the past, this was limited because the public never knew what was on the agenda until just after noon of the day of the work session. Now the public can make plans to attend if they see a topic of interest is going to be discussed.
Working in NYC and not knowing until three hours before the meeting didn't leave much time to leave work and return to Greenburgh to attend in person.

I suspect there are more changes that I'm forgetting to comment upon but I am other-directed as I noted. I just didn't want to leave this blog topic remain orphaned, unvisited or unacknowledged because it really represents a number of larger changes underway that lead to more involvement, if not just awareness, in the governing process.

No news was never a sign of good news in Greenburgh. With the trend to taping and broadcasting most Town meetings, the Town Board and the Town Clerk have made a committment, while already taking the first steps on the road to fulfillment of these promises, to providing residents with a truly open government.

This is no small matter and I hope that more residents take note of this.

Finally, no one gives a better reading of announcements and announcing the names of citizens than the new Town Clerk.

I wish Ms Beville continued success, just as she graciously acknowledged, at the first Town Board meeting, the contributions of her predecessor, Alfreda Williams. Whereas I had little personal regard for Ms. Williams, she did assemble and leave behind a well-trained, capable and service-friendly staff.

All the world's a stage, especially in Greenburgh, but you, Ms Beville, are a player.