A Maryland Municipal League representative attended the Aug 12 workshop to talk to the board about meeting management techniques. Having reviewed a video of an earlier meeting, he did a basic Power Point presentation, using his examination of the earlier session to customize comments.
Overall he thought they did a better job than many places in running public sessions, though a few minor suggestions to help them tweak practices were offered. When the board votes, for example, it was suggested that they more formalize the process and/or announce the outcome. This observation came about after he watched a controversial vote on changing the zoning ordinance and he had to back-up the tape a few items to see figure out what happened. By-the-way, that was a lively exchange, which came about after Commissioner Piner wondered why two other commissioners would vote against senior citizens.
When pressed to identify additional areas the Maryland Municipal League representative mentioned the possibility of having background reports distributed to the elected leadership ahead of time so long discussions on technical matters don’t have to occur. Someone on the town board asked about how to better manage the public, in particular the causal comments that come from the audience. (We think they’re referring to that “peanut gallery” that came up as one of the barriers to streaming the town meetings!) It’s their meeting and they should require appropriate behavior and if you let people what you expect they will generally be responsive, is about the way the response went. But overall his impression was that Elkton does it better than many other public entities.