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Increasing participation in Village Government

posted Nov 25, 2014, 5:47 AM by Doug Roberts   [ updated Nov 25, 2014, 5:48 AM ]
6:00 is not a great time for a public meeting.  People are having dinner with their families, or they might still be at work.  As Trustee I will push to have the meetings moved back to a reasonable hour to increase participation by all Greenporters.  Town Board and School Board meetings all take place at 7:00 or 7:30 for a reason.    
The public is prohibited from commenting at Village Board Work Sessions.  This causes mumbling and grumbling from the Villagers who attend the Work Sessions, and it serves to discourage participation in our government by the public. 

At last night's meeting, the packets given to the public omitted half the pages, including the text of many of the resolutions that the Board passed.   Of greater concern, there were two public hearings on amendments to our code last night, yet the packets did not include the entire text of the language of these proposed amendments.  How is the public to comment on a code amendment at a hearing if it is not given the text of the amendment?  At the Work Sessions, sometimes the public is not given copies of the documents at all, so we're all left to either search the Village website for where the documents are buried, or just listen and guess what it is that the Board is discussing.  I am not advocating wasting a lot of paper, and I know the Clerk posts documents on the website, which is a step in the right direction.  As Trustee I will make sure these documents are easy to find on both laptops and mobile devices.  At the risk of beating a dead horse, Twitter is a great way to publish these kinds of documents.  

Attendance is low at Village Board meetings.  A few minor changes to the process and to the distribution of documents and information, as well as ending the moratorium on public comments at the work sessions, would go a long way to increasing participation in our Village Government.  As Trustee, I will do my best to fill the room with Greenporters at these meetings.  Our government works better when residents and homeowners feel like they are participating.