Monday, May 10, 2010

Inside Town Meeting

As a newbie to the floor of Town Meeting I was disturbed to watch a TMM sleeping, a TMM reading magazines, a bunch of TMM's left at the break and some play on their lap tops while we are there to decide the fate of the Town's fiscal future.

The participation by the elected TMM's is shocking. 130 the first night, 117 the second night and 121 the third night. The low turnout is the best case for becoming a city form of Government.

Lastly, if you were watching the three nights, you heard no sound at the beginning of the first night, then screeching sounds when people came to the mic for the next two nights. This is not new and I have written to the Town Manager about this before and to no avail. I spoke with BOS Chairman Giombetti about this and Moderator Ed Noonan and they assured me that things would be better.. but they were not.

Tonight at the selectman's meeting they will discuss the sound issues.

18 Comments:

At May 10, 2010 at 6:09 PM , Blogger Brian V. said...

How many Town Meeting members are there? Sounds like a pretty good turnout if you have over 100, but I am not sure how many you are suppose to have. And yeah, the sounds is lousy, but the sound on government access is always lousy, we are just use to it.

 
At May 10, 2010 at 8:44 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Well, the sound issue will be addressed by the Gov Access people... according to tonight's BOS meeting. As one of the BOS said, "the sound has been bad in the Town Hall for as many years as she could remember".

PLEASE.. if you tune into ANY public meeting and the sound sucks or the video is bad... send a note to me or your prescient rep or BOS. Lets try to fix this one thing.. now.

The only way to fix this.. is to bitch about it. It's totally unfair to the TMM's and to the viewing public who want to be involved be forced to put up with sound issues. It's beyond hypocritical for those who claim they want more voter participation, when they allow poorly produced government broadcast of meetings.

Over 200 Brian.

 
At May 11, 2010 at 8:48 AM , Blogger 6th Middlesex constituent said...

TM is not working if we have 1/3 of the people not even bothering to show up. Town government by the people does not work if the people are missing. They are a necessary part of the equation.

 
At May 11, 2010 at 9:06 AM , Blogger 50 stud said...

I can not imagine showing up at town meeting and sleeping. But even more than that, I can not imaging showing up at town meeting, sitting next to Pillsbury, and not paying attention! I would be afraid he would yell at me.

 
At May 11, 2010 at 9:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Government access cable tv in Framingham is a joke. You can not hear clearly about 50% of every meeting, and often the camera is showing the wrong thing. Some of it may be equipment issues but no sound at all for 15 minutes before anyone fixes it sounds more like someone being asleep at the switch. Does this guy Rego actually get paid for being so incompetent?

 
At May 11, 2010 at 10:28 AM , Blogger Harry said...

I think we should publish in the paper the names of the TM members who do not show up each night. But I guess that does not really do anything to solve the problem since we have a bunch of TM seats that no one even wants.

 
At May 11, 2010 at 11:57 AM , Blogger Frank S. said...

Who actually pays for the government access stuff? Isn’t that somehow paid for with money from the cable company as part of the contract the town has with them? I think if they are the responsible parties then we need to get them to do what they are supposed to do and make this work. But if it is going to cost the town money, which means me money, then I don’t think it is necessarily the number one priority, but I do think it should be up there.

 
At May 11, 2010 at 1:22 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Frank,

Cable subscribers pay for FPAC, Gov Access and the School Channel.

Comcast paying more than RCN and Verizon, but all three get funded from cable subscribers.

As far as I'm concerned, it's just the lack of attention by the Gov Access group and the lack of attention by the BOS to deal with this problem and hold them (Gov Access)to a higher standard.

 
At May 11, 2010 at 1:24 PM , Blogger Friend said...

Why isn’t someone doing something about the behavior of the people who do show up? Shouldn’t the Town Moderator be reminding people they are there to do the work of the town, and they should be paying attention?

 
At May 11, 2010 at 2:07 PM , Blogger Ever vigalent said...

Saw you on the Selectmen’s meeting last night. Nice to see you dressed a bit more conservatively, and with a shorter hair cut. But more importantly, nice to see you reasonably taking on a cause that is something everyday people care about and can support you on. You were respectful and accurate in what you said to the board last night. People need to see more of that side of you. Seeing you at town meeting and at these types of meetings is going to go a long way to helping you win over the people you need in order to beat Richardson in November.

 
At May 11, 2010 at 4:48 PM , Blogger blog addict said...

Are there any regulations in place for town meeting members? Seems that you should be required to make a certain percentage of the meetings, say 90%, if you want to hold the office. If those types of regulations are not in place, then how do we get them in place?

 
At May 11, 2010 at 5:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion for the Selectman about how to solve the issue with lousy quality broadcasts from the government channel. Fire Ron Rego and hire the acting director at F-Pac, Fran Cerutti, to do the job. She seems to have none of the issues when she shoots a local event that Rego complains about, and she has to carry the equipment around with her instead of it being all set up nicely in a room designed for this. Rego is pulling the wool over the selectmen’s eyes and they are allowing him to do it

 
At May 11, 2010 at 5:20 PM , Blogger Gandalf said...

People sleep, read magazines, eat, and surf the net during town meeting? Sounds just like what goes on in government jobs!

 
At May 11, 2010 at 9:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's truly time to become a city. TM doesn't work anymore and is completely inefficient. We need an elected mayor and paid city counselors. There should be contested races and people working hard to retain their positions once elected.

 
At May 13, 2010 at 4:49 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

At least the sound was good last night. That was a real plus.

The sheer amount of paperwork TMM's get at 7PM before the TM starts is beyond reason. Making decisions based on last minute amendments is not fair to anyone, including the businesses and tax payers of our Town.

While I was prepared to vote no on Article 2, at the last minute, it was pulled. Article three had more amendments than the article itself with more amendments offered as time went on. Clearly, some people are more involved with the process early on, but none of that is shared before hand. Newbie TMM's play catch up the rest of the night....those who stay anyway. Last night, so many TMM's left, the question of a quorum had to be asked and was barley made after the break.

It's truly time to move towards a paid group of City leaders who devote all their time to Framingham's needs

 
At May 14, 2010 at 8:22 AM , Blogger blog addict said...

Sound quality was awful for a long time. Clearly, the powers that be in town don’t want us to hear what is being said, or this would have been fixed a long time ago. Shame on the Selectmen for allowing this to go on for years and doing nothing about it. Thanks Jim for making this an issue they had to confront. It has been much better the last few nights.

 
At May 14, 2010 at 9:40 AM , Blogger Old soldier said...

I watched last night, much better quality than in the past. Thanks for your part in making that happen. Curious, did you get a role in the precinct hierarchy last night? Did you get appointed to any committees? I am assuming as a new member you did not have much chance of getting an authority position in the precinct, but it would be nice to see some new blood stepping in.

 
At May 14, 2010 at 11:02 AM , Blogger Angry Voter said...

You are a town meeting member your self now Jim. How do you suggest we fix this situation with so many tm members not showing up and half of the rest of them not paying attention? I don’t think I agree with you that going to a city form of government will be any better. The same people running the show now would be running the show then, only they would be getting paid to do it, and there would be no opportunity at all for those who disagree with what they want to stop them. Instead of giving up on being a town, I think we should first try to make the town government system work.

 

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