Saturday, January 02, 2010

January 2, 2010 Where's the City Council Agenda for January 5, 2010?

The City of Morristown provides its agenda online so people with internet access can find out what is to be discussed or voted on at its meetings. Those without internet access are left to guess or make individual calls to the City (581-0100) to find out if an item of interest to them will be on the council's agenda.

The Tuesday agenda is usually put on the city's website on the Thursday or Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting. Those who have accessed the council agendas online know that normally there is a link to the full agenda for the upcoming city council meeting beside the date of the meeting.You click on the online link to the agenda and then you can see the full agenda and decide whether you want to attend.

For the Tuesday, January 5th meeting, there is no agenda available online at this time.  Maybe after this post appears, an agenda will appear at the last minute on Monday or maybe someone will be called in to take care of this even before Monday.

This is what was copied from the City's website today with italics added:

1/4/2010 Finance Committee City Center, Mayor's Conf. Room 3:30 PM

1/5/2010 City Council City Center, Council Chambers including Work Session 4:00 PM

The City website is here.
Oh, the Finance Committee meeting that is scheduled for Monday (1/4/10) at 3:30 is not a regularly scheduled meeting. The regular Finance Committee meeting was scheduled for Thursday, December 31, but there was a classified newspaper announcement that ran on December 31 ON THE REGULAR MEETING DAY stating that this meeting had been cancelled and re-scheduled for 1/4/10.
Now most people get their paper in the afternoon or in the evening after work. Announcing ON THE DAY OF THE MEETING that a meeting has been cancelled shows little planning and little concern about the public.
There is no agenda available online for the Finance Committee meeting.  For some reason, a Finance Committee agenda is rarely, if ever, posted.  A few months ago, I called the chairman of the Finance Committee to see what was on the Finance Committee agenda. On the evening before the meeting, the Finance Committee Chairman Frank McGuffin said that he did not have a printed agenda.
When I asked if he knew what would be discussed, he was able to tell me a few of the items that he knew would come up. When I arrived at the actual meeting the next day, lo and behold, there was a printed and lengthy agenda.  I'm not sure when it was printed, but my guess is that it was probably printed on the day of the meeting because an agenda, if there was one, would surely have been e-mailed or sent to the chairman of the Finance Committee more than 24 hours before the meeting??!!
Not providing an agenda or making people call to find out what is on an agenda is a way to keep the public uninformed. It is also a good way to keep people from attending or participating in meetings. If they don't know or can't find out what will be discussed, they will be more likely to stay home.
Of course, the 3:30 PM Finance meeting times and the 4:00 PM Council meeting times are an additional deterrent to public participation. Click here to see the vote on changing meeting times. 

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