Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Davidson's 1st Tuesday meetings...a black hole for transparency

We've tried here recently at aShortChronicle to give the Town of Davidson credit for improved transparency.

To those at Town Hall, really, we have. I promise.

But something happened at Monday's "special meeting" which really shows there is a looooong way to go.

The meeting was "special" because the date had to be changed from the typical "1st Tuesday" meeting which occurs every month.  There was also a 2 hour presentation about the town's proposed new Rural Area Plan.  At the end however, there was supposed to be a discussion on multiple other items - including the town possibly joining a new incarnation of the LNTC - the subject of the last post.

Inexplicably, the video of the meeting is summarily cut off just as that discussion was about to begin.

Watch the last 50 seconds below.

The video camera has been moved into place, clearly with the intent of filming the remainder of the meeting.

Click HERE for video.
Mayor Woods asks if the video is still on.  He shakes his head.  Then, boom.  The video goes off.

And this is not the first time these "1st Tuesday" meetings have been less than transparent.   The Herald Weekly had a not so flattering story about them just a few weeks ago.

In that story Commissioner Brian Jenest called into one of the "1st Tuesday" meetings.  He was going to relay information he had about a meeting with NCDOT, but upon hearing a Herald reporter was in the room he declined to discuss it.

In the past Davidson briefly held an informal monthly meeting inside Commissioners homes.  While these too were technically open to the public, few if any people ever attended.  Thankfully, the town got rid of those.  Nobody believed they were just for "team building" anyway.

Those meetings were replaced by this "1st Tuesday" gathering.  There was not supposed to be a formal agenda, and the idea was that they would be more transparent by being held in a more open forum.

As these two examples show, that idea of more transparency only goes so far.

Update:  Commissioner Cashion just contacted me to clarify one point.  The date of this particular meeting was moved at her request because of conflicting graduation events, not to obscure any of the items on the agenda.

While the date move is not the main point of this post, we're glad to clarify that in case readers got that impression.

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