Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now?

Amherst Select Board meeting via remote viewing

The epic 5-4 vote of the Charter Commission on Monday night in favor of a Mayor/Council to replace antiquated Select Board/Town Meeting was kind of like the Battle of Midway, a major turning point.

But it would have been far less dramatic if it had been a 4-4 tie.

Which is why the Charter Commission asked our illustrious Select Board back in mid-June to allow them the common sense ability to do "remote participation" via Skype, Facetime, or even old fashioned conference call.

A member can participate and vote on something but they do not count towards a quorum.  Thus a 9 member body could not have 5 members participate via remote participation.

The state allowed it back in 2012 and the Regional School Committee started using it years ago.

The diffident Select Board is overly concerned because it's not just something they can grant to a particular committee, otherwise they probably would have instantly granted to the Charter Commission, but it's simply an all-or-nothing declaration.

And apparently they don't overly trust some of our many committees to figure out 21st century technology even though the average 8-tear-old has no problem doing it.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman, no stranger to using social media, will bring back a proposal for  their January 9 meeting.

Thus it should be in place for some of the epic Charter Commission island hopping engagements coming up soon where members have already stated they will not be physically able to attend.


Chris said...

Recall that when the state was initially debating this one concern was the potential abuse of the right for remote participation. Allowing someone to take part every now and again due to illness or unavoidable absence is very reasonable. But at the time there was a Library Trustee who was in Africa for most of a year who wanted the right to participate in and vote in board meetings while gone. That imposes a significant burden for the rest of the board. Also, I think most people would want a local elected official to be, you know, local during their term of office so they can keep up with and participate in local events!

Anonymous said...

The average "8-tear-old" has no problem doing it?

Haha! Apparently you are having trouble right now.

Anonymous said...

But at the time there was a Library Trustee who was in Africa for most of a year

Massachusetts defines residency as 181 days -- which is why the UM students are eligible to vote in Amherst.

As being an Amherst resident, presumably, is a pre-requisite to be a Trustee, ought she have been booted?

Anonymous said...


I'm not surprised that you compared this little town meeting to the Battle of Midway, because this is hardly the first time you've made a completely inappropriate comparison, a clear sign of the immaturity of your writing. But I'd like to remind you that you are typically the guy waving the flag and trying to remind people to remember the valiant wars we've fought in, and that we should never forget, and the flag is sacred, and that lives given during wars should be honored in the highest degree.

Here are some facts about the Battle of Midway:

"At the Battle of Midway, Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft, and suffered 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft, and suffered 307 casualties."

How many people on both sides of this debate in this little town made the ultimate sacrifice? Try to listen to your own words and leave comparisons to events when real human sacrifice was made out of little town politics.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah I kinda figured that comparison would draw you out of your CAN hole.