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August 10, 2012

My Views of the Roundtable

by at 8:39 pm.

As some of you know, this past Tuesday I along with a number of others participated in City Manager Bernie Lynch’s round table discussion which was broadcast live on Lowell Telecommunications Corporation (LTC). If you missed it, you can watch on LTC’s website page that features Channel 99, the Municipal Page.

Dick Howe and Chris Scott have already written their views of the evening. Dick also has some nice pictures. I just wanted to add a couple of other observations.

I thought it was well organized and the City Manager and the members of his staff who accompanied him provided in depth answers to our questions. I am a big fan of CFO Tom Moses. I think he is the best financial guy this City has had in decades and I enjoyed listening to his explanations.

As Chris Scott explained in his post, the highlight of the evening was the answer to the follow-up questioning by Scott and his Sun colleague Lyle Moran on the issue of the License Board and asking for the resignation of two of the Board members. At the time of this writing, Sun staff are reporting (on tweeter, facebook and on their website) that CM Lynch had asked the resignation of License Board Commissioners Ray Weicker and Walter Bayliss.

Speaking of Boards and Commissions membership, I lead the questioning by asking about the make-up of these Boards. For a while now, I have been wondering how we can attract a more diverse membership to apply for consideration to City Boards and Commissions. Here is the link to the page on the City’s web site that lists all the advisory Boards but my immediate focus is on the regulatory Boards, ZBA, Planning, License, Conservation, Historic, etc…

I understand that people have to be qualified and desire to serve but we could lay the groundwork to help more of our neighbors become community activist. I am not sure if I am suggesting that the Administration take a pro-active approach but the Boards need to be more reflective of our population. This is one of the ways we can increase civic participation and responsibility. But more important, it will provide these Boards a broader perspective.

I have appeared in front of two Boards, ZBA and Planning. I was treated politely and respectfully and the members were attentive and prepared. I do not want to suggest that the current board members need to be replaced; I am just suggesting when openings occur, and they often do, we seek a broader application pool.

Back to the roundtable, the format of the evening worked well and others in government, both elected and appointed, may want to follow suit. It is an easy way to directly access a wide section of the engaged public. LTC is waiting to service you.

One Response to “My Views of the Roundtable”

  1. ax41 Says:

    The Administration’s respone to your question about diversity struck me as peculiar .
    The Administration tells us of its involvement with Neighborhood Groups etc., but the City Manager seemed to say that he was ,after six years in office, without the necessary contacts in the Minority Communities so he is outsourcing the task to the Lowell Plan .
    The Lowell Plan has by my count a 39 member Board with six women and 1 or 2 Hispanics - no Blacks or Asians - in a city where roughly 30% of the business firms are minority owned and a larger ( overlapping ) percentage are woman owned.Why would anyone task that group with managing diversity on city boards ?

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