Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Between Memorial and Independence Day

I don't think we've reached the Dog Days of Summer, but we're pretty close to at least the Puppy Days so keep that rolled-up newspaper close at hand because this is the time of year lots of us sort of lose track of what is happening in our local government, but we have the most interesting explanation we offer to one another.

You'll love this-here it goes (and it's a triple threat alibi!):
I was getting getting ready to go on vacation;
I was on vacation when that happened and
I just came back from vacation and am still catching up.
Pretty nifty, huh? And here's the best part, as of 1 July, thanks to HB 5255 as enacted as Public Act 10-171, municipalities are no longer required to post meeting minutes on municipal websites, at all, to comply with CT Freedom of Information Act requirements that had previously mandated the posting within seven working days of the meeting.

I suspect we in Norwich won't have to worry about it, as the City Clerk's office, the City Manager's Executive Assistant and IT Department are all pretty good on turning around and posting meeting notices, agenda and minutes they receive (but you can already spot the flaw in the system-the getting them part, ayup). What you may see in a lot of smallish towns will be city halls who will be glad, if you've got the time to come visit during the work day (which is also your work day) to share the on-file copies FOIA seven day requirement didn't go away.

I wasn't surprised to see on the list of sponsors, some familiar names who've been in Hartford awhile and have gotten comfortable with the notion of staying there. Colleen Murphy, Executive Director of the State's Freedom of Information Commission was, and is, correct. Make no mistake, information is power and controlling the flow of information is integral and essential to remaining in charge.

Because of the holiday, this is a shortened week of meetings beginning on Wednesday.
The first of two on Wednesday is the Kelly Middle School Building Committee meeting at about 6:15 in the Kelly Middle School library after the Committee tours the ongoing construction. No word on whether anything will be named out of gratitude for anyone running for state office, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed (which explains my lousy typing).

At seven in Room 335 of City Hall, is a regular meeting of the Republican Town Committee and if I had a joke about professional wrestling I'd tell it here, but I don't. Luckily the GOP does, and it's easy to find because it's right on the ticket. From the Rail Splitter to this one, nice work!

Thursday the Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, NRZ (shouldn't it be DNRZ?), meets at 5:30 in the Marina at American Wharf. NRZ is always ahead of its time. Well before the State Legislature neutered its FOIA requirements for posting municipal meeting minutes, the NRZ was already ignoring those posting requirements. Well played! I wandered through downtown Sunday morning (with Kris Kristofferson, at least in spirit) and remain impressed by how pristine Chelsea is; uncontaminated by any form of commerce whatsoever. I cannot imagine why (sorry my tongue got in the way of eye teeth and I couldn't see what I was saying).

At six, in the auditorium at Three Rivers Community College, it's a hearing by The Commission on Educational Achievement on how to help students from low-income families do better in school. If you're thinking that this is yet another meeting where 'all we do is talk about the problem and never try to solve it' show up and speak up. And if you don't think you have a dog in this hunt, because your kids aren't in school anymore or are grown, etc, think again. We're a decade into the 21st Century and we're still delivering education in many places across the country and practically everywhere here, as if this were 1970 and we needed to build more education warehouses. It isn't and we don't.

At seven, in the basement conference room in the Planning Department building at 23 Union Street is a regular meeting of the Inlands Wetlands, Water Courses and Conservation Commission whose web page is badly out of date but not for much longer, thanks to Public Act 10-171. It's really better than Catch-22, and that was the best catch there is....I'm thinking maybe we could use a bit more LT Orr and a bit less Major Major.
-bill kenny

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