Televised Commissioners' meetings will help keep the public informed

The following is a letter sent to the County Commissioners by Joan Bernstein, President of the League of Women Voters of the Cape Cod Area regarding televising the Commissioners' meetings.

March 10, 2008

Board of County Commissioners
3195 Main Street
P.O. Box 427
Barnstable, MA  02630

Dear Commissioners Lambros, LeClair, and Doherty:

Re:  Televising Commissioners’ Meetings

The League of Women Voters of Cape Cod Area has as a purpose and as a goal the development and support of good democratic government at all levels of government.  LWVCCA has a long-standing position for the support of strong regional government for Barnstable County and of a regional approach to many Cape issues.

...much of "the County's operations and services are unknown to most of the residents of the Cape.” Based on our long support and advocacy for Barnstable County Government and our participation in the 2005 Charter Review process, we feel the need to voice our concerns regarding citizen participation and the opportunity to view an open, transparent government at work.

In 2005 the League participated in the County Charter Review process.  During this process the League's study group attended committee meetings, developed a report, and submitted recommendations.  Our final recommendation submitted to the Charter Review Committee expressed our concerns that much of "the County's operations and services are unknown to most of the residents of the Cape.”

With this in mind, we recommend that the County Commissioners' weekly meeting be recorded, videotaped, and televised in the same manner as other governing bodies that implement public policy through deliberation.  The televising of the Commissioners' meetings will help to illuminate the many endeavors of the office and allow more of the community access through this process.

We know that some might say the cost of such an endeavor is an unwarranted expense during this time of economic uncertainty, but we disagree.

It is crucial during times like these that government is as transparent and as open as possible and that the public's right and duty to participate and have access to public policy decisions transcend this cost.  It is vitally important to engage the community and to increase citizen participation in county government.  This process will enable the community to have more exposure to the benefits of a regional government.

Therefore, in order to provide the public with this opportunity, we strongly urge that every effort be made to record, videotape, and televise the meetings of the County Commissioners.

Sincerely yours,

 

Joan Bernstein
President
League of Women Voters of the Cape Cod Area

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