How can Boards & Commissions’ communications be improved?

Northfield City Council and PRAB I’ve been increasingly aware of how the lack of communications by the City of Northfield’s various Boards, Commissions and Task Forces can often hinder their effectiveness.  The Parks and Rec Advisory Board’s (PRAB) recommendation that the skatepark be located in Ames Park is the latest example. The Council and the public have been asking, “What about Riverside? Why not Babcock?  Why did you reject Memorial?” And the PRAB is saying, in effect, “We already went through all that.” (continued)

It would really help to be able to go back and find out the details of the PRAB’s deliberations about Babcock, Riverside, and Memorial, just like last week, it would have been helpful to find out the details on why the Safety Center Task Force rejected various sites.  But it’s not clear to me how improved communications could be accomplished.  Cryptic minutes don’t really help, and extensive minutes would take someone’s (staff?) time to produce and then they’d need to be approved before they could be posted/publicized. Having a Council representative on a board or commission helps only a little, because their comments are rarely extensive or recorded.

One Comment

  1. kiffi summa said:

    First of all, it would be a concrete step forward… for instance in the council/parkboard ‘revisit’, if the council members had taken the time to inform themselves of all the consideration of all sites that the park board had looked at., including documents like the Parks/Trails Master Plan, etc. It appears they had not done that; if they had , they would not have asked inane questions like “well, did you consider the parking?” or other similar inanities.

    You must also at least consider, whether you accept it or not, and you certainly do not have to agree, that this was a ‘political’ process in that three returning councilors had voted against Ames, and that the Mayor had campaigned on Ames NOT being her first choice, and therefor this was a chance to reconsider the previous vote… especially since the language ( re safety issues) in the original resolution was open to prejudicial interpretation on both sides.

    It seemed to me that the council was generally not sensitive to the tenor of their re-inquiry to the park board; Ms. Buckheit was the exception to that.

    It is astounding to me that even in this small town situation, when people get elected, they start acting like they’ve been to what I call “the room with the electrodes”! They start speaking jargon, and their eyes keep darting to the city staff (for approval? for what reason?)

    Why does the imprimatur of votes make them other than the elected REPRESENTATIVE who was SO anxious to SERVE the public?

    All that’s needed for better communications between the Council and the B’and C’s, and everyoneelse, is less jargon, more honest speech, less political maneuvering, and less demonizing over sincere opinions.
    Demonizing over in-sincere opinions will be allowed…

    May 1, 2009

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