Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Palmetto Bay Village Voice, Inc. (PBVV) – What are their present concerns with the Palmetto Bay Village Council?

Rick Cook, president of the Palmetto Bay Village Voice, Inc. (PBVV), addressed the Village Council at the July 11, 2011, regular village council meeting.  He presented some of the present issues of concern.  What are these issues?  Click “Read more” below to review the issues.

There are serious concerns about transparency and accountability not being addressed by the present village council.  One of the concerns I keep hearing was that as founding Mayor, I stood before my fellow residents and stated that we could web-cast village meetings once we had a permanent village hall.  This is true and there is no reason why it has not been installed.  There has not been much required of this current council in regard to completion of the final punch list.  All cameras and monitors are in place as originally planned.  You can view the meeting internally, now the feed needs to move from internally of village hall to our homes.  I pushed for a web cast system, not Comcast.  Why?  Because not everyone has cable and those who do not necessarily have Comcast.  The cable providers in Palmetto Bay are divided between ATT Uverse, Comcast, Direct TV, and Dish Network. There may be many more people with the capability to view a web cast than are on any one cable provider.  The goal of this council should be to reach as many people as possible.  The first council planned and built this facility, now it is time for this present council to finish up the final details; sooner not later.  This current Village Council has met in regularly scheduled council meeting 9 times since their election, yet I cannot recall a single resolution on the agenda in regards to moving the meetings online.   

As you can see below, the PBVV's concerns are not with the present council's ability to do it, but the will of this current council to get it done.

PALMETTO BAY VILLAGE VOICE, INC – Their present concerns (from their web site):

Palmetto Bay Village Voice, Inc. (PBVV) has been formed to encourage the residents of the Village to be better informed and involved with the governance of our community.  But, an informed and involved citizenry requires that the Village be more transparent in its decision making and actions.

The Village does have several projects which would make our government more accessible and accountable.  Our concern is that none are fully operational -

1.    Broadcasting Council meetings on the web and/or on Comcast, so that residents who cannot attend can still watch.  The new Council chambers are fully equipped to televise meetings.  In fact, if you are in the audience at a meeting you can also watch it on large flat-screen monitors behind the Council, but you can’t watch it live at home.  You can get a copy if you trek down to Village Hall and request it and you should be able to watch it after the fact on the Village web-site - but that function did not work on the Village's old web-site and has yet to work on the new one.

2.    On-line check register.  Council Member Howard Tendrich has asked that the Village check register be accessible to the public on-line as many other municipalities already do.

3.    The new Council chambers are equipped with a voting system which records members’ votes and displays them on the monitors.  This provides an accurate record of each member’s vote and it lessens the possibility of a member being influenced by how others are voting.

As far we know, there is no target for making these items operational and there is no indication that there is a sense of urgency to get them done.

One other suggestion we have regarding public comment at Village meetings.  Currently, the only time the public is assured a time for comment is during the second reading of a proposed ordinance.  Public comment at any other time is at the discretion of the Mayor or Committee Chair.

We believe that opportunities for public comment should be the norm at public meetings.  Additional involvement by the citizens of the Village will provide for a more productive discussion and better decision making by the Council.  We encourage Mayor Stanczyk to seek out public input by providing as many opportunities for our citizens to be heard as is reasonable within the context of a public meeting whether that be before the Council or a Committee.

We will bring these concerns to the Council and encourage you to contact the Mayor and the members of the Council and let them know your views on these issues.

No comments:

Post a Comment