Thumbs Up to Advocate for Transparency in Cecil County Government; Listen to Today’s Workshop Online

Commentary

On this Tuesday evening, we are pleased to find the full audio of today’s workshop already posted on Cecil County Government’s homepage.  From now on, Citizens are going to be able to listen to the commissioners exchange ideas, debate matters, and negotiate public solutions at the workshops.  Moreover, no longer will interested parties have to depend on the selective filters and limited space of print media (or new media for that matter) to share news of what happened.  We are all now able to listen in and hear the commissioners exchanges directly.  This important step forward strengthens the quality of public decisions as constituents are now able to provide feedback to elected officials while they’re crafting public policy matters.  Broad citizen input, beyond just a few special interest groups, is an excellent thing.  

Before today, one would sometimes wait months for minutes to be approved and posted.  As weeks passed by, it was often way too late to provide input by the time the official record was approved and posted. Right now, the last workshop minutes the commissioners approved for posting were from Jan 18th.  That leaves five sessions where the public doesn’t have a record of discussions or decisions.  The last written record from the formal board  meeting is Jan 4th, and so there are three sessions where the public is still waiting for a written report. (Audio was available for many evening sessions, a practice that started about a year ago.)

Borrowing from that fine editorial page tradition of the county’s daily paper, the Cecil Whig, where it awards thumbs-up and thumbs-down on matters of local importance on the op/ed pages, Someone Noticed is ready to give its own award. 

To Commissioner Broomell, we give a thumbs up as she was the advocate for this approach.   This important step forward didn’t just happen and the fourth district representative was the force pushing for it.  Of course, we recognize that other officials (or the majority) had to go along, but that’s not the same as being the elected leader that’s consistently urged the opening up of these meetings to a wide audience.  We need more sunshine on the affairs of local government and its refreshing to see an elected officials push for more and more sunshine.

Keep speaking up for more sunshine on the affairs of local government Commissioner Broomell.  Hopefully others will follow your lead.

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13 responses to “Thumbs Up to Advocate for Transparency in Cecil County Government; Listen to Today’s Workshop Online

  1. I had a problem with low soynd volume. Anyone have a solution (besides a hearing aid, already have two)?

    • Alexis, there was a problem with the audio. We could hardly hear Commissioner Moore’s comments and that was with the volume turned all the way up. I’m surfe the county IT department will work that out as this was the first time for this. It probably just means providing more microphones.

      • Hey Mike,
        Doesn’t anyone in the county have experience with broadcast? As least someone should know that you should test everything with a dry run.

  2. Golly that is great. Thank you ALL FIVE COMMISSIONERS and those of us who kept bugging them with email.

    Is there a reason the Board of County Commissioners Meeting – 7:00 p.m. – March 01, 2011 has no recordings? Are only the open door work sessions to be recorded? And what happened to the live stream concept?

    One problem is that now the commissioners will need to take diction lessons to correct their mumbling, stop thumping on the table, learn the words yes and no (ya, na and other slang is not acceptable), speak up with pride and conviction as though what they are saying is important, and slow down. Without video, it is obviously difficult to read lips as an aid in listening to inarticulate individuals.

    Which brings me to another question. What happened to video streaming?

    • Raoul, good to hear that you too were pushing all five commissioners through those emails from Raoul! We sure didn’t hear other officials joining in to provide additoinal leadership on the push for transparency, except for President Mullin who said he was “leaning towared flipping that switch.” And once he said that it happened. But perhaps those emails from Raoul had an affect, as they didn’t block it either!
      As for why the evening session isn’t up yet, what time did they finish last night? Because it’s later in the evening, the audios from the regular meetings that are posted, usually appear the next day. (Some aren’t recorded because the commissioners rotate meetings to other locations.)
      That’ s much better than waiting monhs for the written record to get posted. In fact I tried to go back to check to see how many commissioners were pushing for transparency, but because the most recent doucments for the meetings were so old, I couldn’t fact-check that. When they get them up in a couple of months, we can go back to check to see how many were standing up and saying let’s get the obstacles out of the way and make this happen.
      Raoul, think of it. At least now we can all listen directly and won’t have to read selective coverage of the meetings in legacy media (or new) saying and that’s the way it was. So we’ll all hear the same exact discussion and can debate those points. How great is that Raoul, no filters between any of us and the actual discussion. That’ the way was as they say.

  3. “(Some aren’t ;osted because the commissioners rotate meetings to other locations.)”

    Well, Mike, at least they can’t use that excuse anymore since all meetings will now be in the Elk Room.

    And now that there is some sort of recording, county residents can get an idea of the commissioners’ thought and decision making process. That is good since the County Administration Building was constructed as close to Delaware as they could get, which sure makes it hard for those of us in the western and northern sections to attend.

    • Raoul, exactly. Now anyone intersted will be able to hear first-hand as it’s too easy to surf over at your convenience. We won’t have to depend on whatever coverage and angle, as well as focus, a newspaper decides to give some county govt story, as it’ll be right there for any interested party. Also by enlarging the audience that will able to provide more informed feedback, as that law of large numbers helps reduce the influence of any special interest group (whatever the interest).

      As for your point about moving the county office building to the Mason-Dixon Line, we always thought that wasn’t right. It would have been better to keep it in Elkton and we were surprised that the Alliance didn’t fight that move.

      But a trip to downtown Elkton from the remote parts of the county or the Mason Dixon Line, isn’t that much differen5 in terms of distance. But it does make a difference to the downtown Ekton economy.

      When you worry about the western and norther sections Raoul, don’t forget those of us south of Elkton down by the canal. You now how that goes Raoul fopr those of us in south county.

  4. General Custer is back and this time to stay! I hope you will forgive my absence. Me and the boys in the 7th Cavalry have been busy riding around this wonder state of Maryland in search of Sitting Bull Smigiel and Crazy Horse Pipkin. We haven’t been able to capture them yet, but don’t worry, the 7th Cavalry is one of the best fighting forces in the entire U.S. Cavalry! We haven’t lost a single battle yet! No sir!
    Anyway, I don’t know what it is you think is so great about the Broomell lady. As that Raoul fellow pointed out, they only did it after enought civilians put pressure on them to do it. So instead of giving Broomell a “thumbs up,” you should be giving THE PEOPLE a “thumbs up” sir! I don’t trust those County Commissioners. They’re about as trustworthy as those Tammany Hall politicians up there in New York! That’s why I’m here to announce that I am running for County Commissioner. If Broomell can do it, I can too! I’m going to move from my hometown of Monroe, Michigan and take up residency right here in good old Cecil County.

    GENERAL GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER
    FOR CECIL COUNTY COMMISSIONER!
    “I’VE YET TO LEAD MY TROOPS INTO DEFEAT, AND I SHALL NEVER LEAD THIS COUNTY INTO DEFAT!”

  5. Chris Zeauskas

    Commissioner Broomell was calling for this before running for office. She also was calling for it while running. We should give her a pat on the back for sticking to her guns on this issue. Far too many times do we get elected officals who say one thing and do another. Thank you Commissioner Broomell.

    • Chris Zeauskas is right on target regarding elected officials who say one thing and do another. The SMIPKIN “Fiscal Conservative Team” (including Chris Z), were big time Law-And-Order supporters (remember the golf outing?) and now DunnMullin want to cut Public Safety by 10%. Still waiting for FOP President Streight to weigh in on this. The Creative Writing wing of the SMIPKIN Party (Patterson & Sierra) criticize those SMIPKIN enemies who do not agree with their Campaign for Liberty positions, but don’t question the Pipkin “earmarks”.

  6. General Custer never lost a battle? Remember Little Big Horn. We gave you the name “Arrows In Butt”. We have diversified since then. Call me for a comp at one of our casinos. I might even give you a job in promotions as “America’s Biggest Loser”.

  7. George Armstrong Custer

    What is this Little Big Horn you talk about sir!? AND HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST MY MEN WILL GET ARROWS IN THE BUTT! Word has it we’re getting sent to the Montana territory soon and we will be VICTORIOUS, YOU HEAR ME? VICTORIOUS! Make one more insult and I’ll invade your village!

    • General Custer, come on down! You can find me on Smipkin Island where we don’t need permission to carry weapons. Invade at your own peril.

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