Bergen Grassroots has long advocated and provided meetings focused on the rationale and logistics that allow local governments to make their key meetings available to their residents on a real time basis.
And BGR leaders repeatedly – both in “public input” at Freeholder meetings and in a series of meetings with County personnel – have for several years been pressing the County to take the needed steps to achieve simultaneous broadcast/internet transmission of County Freeholder meetings. These should include their budget hearings, their Wednesday afternoon work sessions and the evening formal meetings. The Freeholder Board member response has been positive. In fact, for several years every candidate for Freeholder office has in the BGR electoral forums supported meeting broadcast (see this website’s videos of those forums) The Board knows it needs to reach a broader public so that Bergen residents know/see what the Board does.
The County seems to be getting closer – with the help particularly of the expertise of BGR trustee George Bumiller. But it simply is not there yet! In the Spring of 2017 BGR has taken additional steps to understand what IT purchases the County has made and understand what additional technical competence is needed to turn these IT investments – and perhaps some modest additional ones – into doing what so many other municipalities now do routinely. The County’s recent record on transparency and ethical contracting appears good – but we need to all be able to see it in action.
It has now been 104 years since Louis Brandeis made his famous statement that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” in a Harper’s Weekly article. His quote has repeated frequently even by some current Freeholders.