Monday, February 9, 2009

Reach Out and Touch the Flame

I think I like the Norwich meeting calendar better when items are crammed together, back to back to back, instead of spread out all across the week. Just me, I suspect-I don't have much of a life, and certainly don't do much with what I have but it's just more convenient to me when meetings are concentrated, though we start the week by sending out an SOS for all those with the gift of bi-location.

Tonight we have two different meetings across town from one another at the same time. I'm not sure what to suggest as a remedy except maybe to ask Marty McFly if you can borrow the keys to the DeLorean (if it has a sail, I'll bet I can get it into a parade the end of June here in Norwich. But then again, maybe not. )

The Volunteer Firefighters Relief Fund (whose information on the Norwich Municipal website is woefully inadequate and out of date) meets in Room 209 of City Hall at 5 PM. Not directly connected, but excellent background reading to put what this meeting is a part of in better perspective is this article from Sunday's The Day newspaper. Read it fast--another day or so and it'll cost you money to look at it on line (I wonder if the reporter sees any of that?).
Here's another piece of background reading, and it's been around a decade or more and helps me understand, as Joanne P. noted last Monday night at the City Council, why we see the same faces in the places every week at every meeting. This is a REAL eye-opener and no longer a portent of the future, as that has already arrived.

Also tonight, also at 5, in the Norwich Public Utilities building at 26 South Golden Street, is a special meeting of the Board of Public Utilities' Commissioners for a "Workshop on Performance Review Process." Your guess is as good as mine, maybe better (my utility bills seem to be getting bigger in recent months, much like yours, so I hope whatever this is, it helps keep the lid on that while also continuing to guarantee me and my family excellent service).

Tuesday morning at 8:30 in the Latham Science Center of Norwich Free Academy is a meeting of the Youth and Family Services Advisory Board (based on its name, I'll wager an important tool in many aspects of quality of life issues, but judging from its entry on the City's website, completely outdated and less than accurate. It appears to have one member as the appointments of six others expired anywhere from nine to five years ago. Gimme the 'Norwich is Moving Forward!' pep talk again because I eat that up with a spoon, and while you're at it, tell me about the rabbits, George.)

At five PM, in the Public Works Office over at 50 Clinton Ave (I don't live near there-as you can tell from the 'over there' reference for which I apologize. If you're across the street at 49 Clinton Avenue I guess it's not so much an 'over there' situation though I don't think there is a 49) is a meeting of Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee whose meeting last month was wiped out by weather and whose agenda is missing in action, at least on line. Here's the draft minutes of their November meeting which is also their most recent one and based on them, I'd expect to learn more about the Dog Pound project. In light of the declining revenue available to this committee and the aging infrastructure that's part of their mission, their job gets harder and harder to do every month, so thanks for trying to do it.

At 7 PM, in the conference room (I think) in the basement of 23 Union Street (next door to City Hall) is a regular meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals (a board, again ,with members whose appointment have or about to become, expired. Not forgetting now State Representative Christopher Coutu, former Alderman, is still listed as a member, but as a Democrat). Here's their meeting agenda and I love Item J by the way.

Also at 7 (McFly!), in the library of the Beth Jacob Synagogue (it's a fine line between old school and Old Testament. Word to your mother.) back by popular demand (of sorts), is a special meeting of the Ethics Review Committee, whose agenda is ONLY available by going here on the Norwich website and scrolling down to where they show up under 'municipal meetings'. I'm the recording secretary and the meeting, as I understand it, may be an attempt by the Chairperson, Mr. Goldman, to get action (more likely reaction) from the City Council to whom we gave our final report and recommendations (basically an expanded code) last March, who held an informational session with us in September to thank us all very much and to tell us tell us they had questions and were working with City Hall professionals on those questions, and then stopped talking at all. As far as I'm concerned, the City Council has the report (but where we can all help, I'm confident we shall), but based on some of the antics (it's a shorter word than Semiseptcentennial) in the last weeks, there's more need than ever for more ethics rather than more questions.

There's a letter in Sunday's Bulletin, that looks to me like somebody got a Word-A-Day calendar for Christmas, 'perfidy'-I haven't seen that in print in decades. And I would love to know from whom (by name) the email cancelling the contract came. I won't be surprised to wait until the next City Council meeting and a suspension of the rules to find out. Meanwhile I'm sparring now with a variety of barn yard animals, so whichever one is invoked, it's in shape for the meeting. For an event that was designed to, and should, instill a sense of pride across the City, it's not working out that way at all.

Wednesday morning, another of those quarter hour flashes I love, this one at 8:45 at 23 Union Street is a meeting of the Rehabilitation Review Committee. Here's the minutes of their 21 January meeting. That afternoon at 4:30 at Westwood Park is a meeting of the Norwich Housing Authority, neither of whose previous meeting minutes, nor agenda, are available. The Norwich Baseball Stadium Authority meets at six in room 210; perhaps the same weather that did in the Public Works meeting last month also impacted them as their last meeting minutes are from December. I'm working on how, with seven members present, the votes all seemed to be 8 to zero; perhaps there's sales tax?

Rounding out Wednesday at seven PM in the Central Fire Station over on North Thames Street is the Public Safety Committee. Based on the January draft meeting minutes, I'd anticipate learning the City Manager has received a corrected and reviewed copy of the city-wide equipment inventory and plan of deployment. This is a concern and request that this committee has had for over a year as it has worked with all the fire departments to create a document and a plan. Good for them and better for us.

That's it for this week. "The cities aflood/And our love turns to rust. We're beaten and blown by the wind/Trampled into dust. I'll show you a place/High on a desert plain. Where the streets have no name. Where the streets have no name."
-bill kenny

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