President Mullin Leaning Toward Flipping That Switch & Letting People Listen In

Commentary

While Commissioner Broomell explores ways to enhance accountability in county government by increasing public accessibility and transparency, it appears one simple, practical step could be implemented immediately.  That is the county should move the workshops to the large meeting room and start recording those sessions, which is something President Jim Mullin said he’s “leaning toward” doing.   As the push to have video broadcasts continue with Commissioner Broomell working with the staff to untangle costs, technical issues and organizational barriers, the president’s idea is a practical one as it can be done right now and there’s no cost.    

While the push for video works its way through the halls of county government, there’s a need for the simple changes President Mullin is thinking about.   First, the workshops, which take place in a crowded, smaller conference room, are getting standing room only audiences these days, with people sometimes pushed out into the hallway.  Those much larger auidences are creating problems as it’s hard to hear what more soft-spoken officials are saying.   So why not move it to the bigger facility where everyone can have a seat and there’s an amplification system to make sure everyone can hear the remarks?  Second, in that room all they have to do is flip the switch to make an audio recording of the meeting.  Once that’s done, they can follow the practice they do for the over half of their sessions, where it’s posted on the Net.  That’ll create an official record of what happened, word by word, and we won’t have to depend on different media outlets (legacy or bloggers) filtering the news.

Although it’s month since the votes were tallied from the 2010 election, Someone Noticed appreciates the fact that Commissioner Broomell hasn’t forgotten her campaign pledge and is continuing to push to make it easier for everyone to have access to the proceedings.  It’s an excellent idea, one that she’ll have to work on to get everyone on board , including other commissioners, but it will make for better government and better decision-making in Cecil County.

Meanwhile President Mullin, give everyone in the audience a chair and just flip the switch.  It’s good for the taxpayers, the citizens, and the political leadership to have as much sunshine as possible on the affairs of Cecil County Government.

Flip that switch President Mullin and let the people listen in.

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14 responses to “President Mullin Leaning Toward Flipping That Switch & Letting People Listen In

  1. Mike,

    I completely agree with moving all meetings to the larger room, which already has sound and recording capabilities. Brilliant idea.

    It solves the problems, will encourage even more citizen watch-dogging, and frees up time for ms broomell to start thinkin’ bout that budgety thingy.

    Oh look, we’ve solved one budget problem by negating the need for expenditures on a ‘hollywood’ type production of meetings that do not have to need to be as slick ‘Peoples Court’.

    Is there a way we can filter out the gum smacking?

    • The promise she made was televised meetings not web cam? Another bait and switch wait till we get to the budget.

      • You are correct, Mr. Lockhart.

        However at this point, with the restraints of recession and the need to trim the county budget, [Someone Noticed edit - remark referred to Commissioner Broomell] should just eat her words, again, admit she wasn’t thinking clearly, again, and support a viable, expedient and less costly solution.

        And…she won’t have to worry about hiring a makeup artist which would be money foolishly and egotistically spent.

        BTW, any ideas how we can replace [Edit - referred to Commissioner Dunn] with you, the person who should have won?

        • However the specifics work out on opening the meetings up more, we appreciate Commissioner Broomell’s drive to make something happen in this area. Before she started campaigning on the transparency matter, we didn’t hear anyone else addressing the subject and discussing options to put more sunshine on the deliberations of the board of commissioners. Anyone could’ve jumped on that if they wanted to or the former board of commissioners could’ve done something basic. But at least she ran on it and she’s continuining to push for it. How the details sort out will unfold over time and can be worked out. In fact there was a presentation from the IT dept. that found much lower cost options than those original sky-high numbers reported in the Whig just before the election.

          At Someone Noticed, we’re just pleased to have elected officials pushing for these things since there’s at least an advocate at the right level to hopefully make progress.

          Whether, it’s live, streamed or audio, the details can get sorted out and they are getting worked on, based on the presentaiton we heard (article upcoming. There was so much news at the meeting we’re posting them as fast possible.)

          Thank you Commissioner B roomell for representing the people’s interest on this matter and being the advocate at the table that’s continuing to push to make this happen. When the soltuion is in place (whatever the specifics) your advocacy be appreciated.

      • Editor’s Note: Brian Lockhart previously served last term as the president of the board of county commissioners. In the fall 2010 election, he was not successful in attempt to serve a second term.

        http://someonenoticed.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/newly-elected-commissioners-greeted-warmly-by-large-crowd-during-swearing-in-ceremony-on-frigid-afternoon/

    • Raoul we must be attending different meetings or our attending observational filters are different. You’ve mentioned the “gum smacking” a few times. That’s something we’ve not observed, but perhaps we’re too busy trying to take notes and keep an eye on our digital recorder as the county doesn’t create a recording of these things.

      That, of course, causes serious disagreements about what happened in official meetings. Notice that an agenda item is a discussion with the county attorney about what should be in the minutes. There was an intersting discussion that took place last time over that. So if there’s a concern about that at the official level, think what’s going on with citizens and everyday observers. Then there was the time none of the media outlets, officials or hardly anyone else could agree what happened in a meeting so everyone had to head to their favorite video outtakes of a meeting to publish them on Youtube and other places on the net, to show why they said something. The Whig had recorded the entire thing, but they refused to release it and used their few minutes to support the way they covered the meeting.

      It’ll be interesting to hear the county attorneys advise on how the meeting mintues should be constructed next week.

      Anyway, that keeps us busy trying to keep our notes straight as we know matters about what happen in those meeting get disputed, after the session is over and none of us have access to a real-time record.

      President Mullin, filp that switch. That’s what we say. That’ll put an end to this. It doesn’t cost anything and besides it’ll be great for everyone to have a chair.

  2. I think the plan should include equipping Commissioner “Stop the Madness/Culture of Corruption” Dunn with a live feed earpiece so that Delegate Smigiel can give him real-time instructions.

  3. If Mullin really came up with the idea, then I may be ‘leaning toward’ reevaluating what I think about him.

    Could he possibly have other good ideas? Only time will tell.

    And Mr. Lockhart, it is very troubling that we have to endure the learning curve of [remark referred to Commisisoners Dunn and Broomell edited]. I fear they will never understand what this government thingy is and just keep chompin, chewin, textin and gigglin.

    • Raoul, on this chewing gum thing, we were there and didn’t see that.

    • Oh boy, is this why I lost faith in all of you people. Because you attack Smigiel/Pipkin without offering us one solution. Apparently Smigiel in sitting in Annapolis doing something right because he got something right getting re-elected. No, but I’ll sit here and wait okay? Also apparently Dunn did something right, or you wouldnt be sitting here bashing him all day.

      As Winston Churchill said:

      “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

      Lockhart did a apparent bad job in the voters mind and got rejected, live with it. Dunn will be judged on his record. So far he has been a fresh face and good for this county. A young energetic face with good ideas. And I honestly of sick of people thinking they are smart because they can ramble off Smigiel and Pipkin’s name a million times like they are trying to win a prize. Because sure did something right to get re-elected by large majorities in Annapolis.

      • Johny boy,
        You are the only one talking about Smigiel on this thread. If you don’t want to to bring him up…don’t.

        I do have a problem with a one party board of commissioners. That does not fairly represent the citizens of the county.

        This last election was a great example of what is happening to our county and county. Vote against a party to sho’em sumpin. Oh yes electing Dunn and Broomell showed that Barak Hussein Obama what for. I am sure he is cringing in his sneakers.

        • Oh yeah what a bogeyman arguement in a D +9 state, Raoul. Please do try to understand politics before you do open your mouth and step in it. The point is the Republican Party is sure not scared of the Democrats in Cecil County or MD-01 an R +13 district.

          You obviously missed the fact that the American people rejected the Obama agenda. Guess, what we live in MD-01, elected Andy Harris. You know what happens, when Harris wins in a landslide over a Lap Dog Democrat of Nancy Pelosi who calls himself a Blue Dog, Republicans will win down the board in an already large R +13 district.

          I mean if you are going to argue state or national politics, Raoul, do please try to get a clue.

        • Johnny Boy,
          I apologize for using sarcasm. You seem to get your feathers all ruffled as you push your agenda.

          My point is, simply, voting blindly for a party other than evaluating candidates credentials and abilities, is asinine.

          That is what the majority did in ’08, and just look what happened. Even many who voted for Obama, now regret that and feel they were hornswoggled.

          Voting blindly for Republicans in ’10 is the same situation and will not improve the lives of American Citizens. We can expect two years of National backstabbing, name calling, lying, promising…you know, politics as usual.

          We cannot continue to pass the blame back and forth for political gain. You know what they say about insanity.

  4. Great news! But why lean? Just do it! It’s a no brainer!

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