TV could hamper committee meetings


February 13, 2008 at 12:02 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre recently admitted that it was his choice to stop the broadcasting of council committee meetings. And though the proposed ordinance drew a lot of heat from residents when it was leaked out of the courthouse, that decision would have been a good one.

The council is charged with making important decisions for all the citizens of this parish. To do that, the councilmen have to meet at some point other than their regular meetings in order to facilitate an in-depth discussion of those very issues.

That's what the committee meetings are for.

While those meetings are open to the public, the placement of cameras in the room could cause the councilmen to hold back on discussion. Either they won't want to accidentally say something wrong in the course of an argument or they will bite their tongue so that they don't appear to be attacking a fellow councilman. As with all major decisions, though, an argument or heated discussion usually leads to a more informed decision.

St. Pierre cited the school board's un-broadcasted committee meetings as an example.

"The school board has committee meetings that are not televised.," he said. "I think that's a good idea."

Because of that, the school board is able to present a united front when they are on television, even though plenty of disagreements probably go on at other times. Plus, it's not like the public wouldn't be able to see the meetings if they weren't on TV. All they have to do is head down to the courthouse to see the committee meetings first-hand.

Right now, only a handful of concerned citizens make their way to either the committee meetings or council meetings. That's something that needs to change.

So don't rely on television to bring those meetings to you. Instead, bring yourself to those meetings and actually give some input on the important decisions that these councilmen are charged with making.

This is your parish too. Make your voice heard.




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