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Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Looking Foward :Videos of Archived City Commission dating back to 2010 to be restored to City's website Friday ?

In the last two years attendance has dwindled to non existent at City Commission Meetings. That is not because as some assert the meetings are boring, It is because residents feel they have stake in what is being  discussed. Public comment  with was a mainstay of the 2009 to 2011  Commission Meetings  was eliminated. In it's place was is something called Recognition of Citizens in the Audience. It has long been understood by all concerned that in the City of Bloomfield Hills residents do not wish to be recognized but they do wish to participate. Today the recognition portion of the meeting  is used by politicians,charities, groups that want something from the City, and if we are not mistaken at least once by once by the seller of a revolutionary new product that no one bought. At least not that night..

In  recent times  the four commissioners who are not Mayor assemble along with the Mayor and City Administration to  generally rubber stamp what is on the agenda. The last meeting however was an  exception. One commissioner of note quietly asked a four word question of the Mayor which was answered and a short discussion ensued..

Two and a half  years ago The City of Bloomfield Hills was way ahead of neighboring communities in providing it's citizens with information about the workings of  their government. We were among the first communities  (a year ahead of  Bloomfield Township)  to televise City Commission  meetings  which were then posted  and archived on our City's web site.

In fact it was such an achievement that current  Mayor Sarah McClure in the last  City election boasted of a being a member of the commission that made the televised City Commission meetings a reality . She said it was indicative of increased transparency in Government  our City was practicing,  Those remarks were made at the League of Women's Candidates Forum last spring  and  the video was posted on the City's web site which in those days functional quite well..
In  2010 City Clerk Amy  Burton took it upon herself to put the minutes and the complete Agenda packet  of all City meetings, (City Commission, Planning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeal ) and put them on the City's web site when they could easily be searched by a search engine. She started  with the year 2002 because that was the first year records were kept on computer which made it  manageable for one person to do. It was a remarkable achievement and one that was not  equaled for many years.

Last year Bloomfield Township using  the resources providerd  by a of a population of 40,000,a  team of  dedicated people, professional assistance and two years of time did the same thing Amy going back to 1827
Prior to 1928 those records are all hand written. Typewritten records started in 1928 t year and lasted until computer s took over by the end of the Century.

The key factor here is not that the township out did us but that after our first impressive start we went no further. We only have to back to 1932 and presumably all our records are typewritten. If one person with a full  time job can  find time go back eight years. what could  a handful of weekend volunteers do ? There are many in our City  who are keen on  the area's history and might be  interested in helping but our City, despite the initial success  never pursued the  matter.

Today if you visit the Bloomfield Township's web site you will see the below box. on the front page,

Bloomfield Township's Official Website

Click on Video of the Board of Trustees Meetings which is the equivalent of our City Commission and and after a spit second or so delay  videos of every meeting from 1/14/2013 going back to when the service was started in at the 6/26/2011. The above link works. You may try it if you like.

We are pleased to report that Our City Clerk has informed us that as early as Friday of this week a similar Video on Demand system will be in place on our City's web site.We believe it will  It will include all our old  videos of Commission meetings just like our old web site used to.

It seems there was a glitch in the new (as of July 2012) website and our videos of City Commission Meetings  were never posted , That was an unintended consequence of  switching to the new website
To access the "Video on Demand." icon on our City's website you have to first click on the "Front Desk " button on the home page. Doing so would produce the following.

The only video  that has ever appeared as yet on the new website was the one from the October 19th 2012 meeting. The "Video on Demand "did not work and did not produce any newer or older videos.

You may say that is not a major matter and that would be correct except for  a couple of things.Anyone who visited  our website would realize that October 9th 2012 was a long time ago and wonder why we didn't. Worse every month the the Bloomfield Hill Cable TV cameras roll  at commission meetings. The bill for services rendered is paid by the City.The  funds are supplied by the tax payers who also pay for the web site. In neither case are the residents getting what they paid for or the case of the missing videos anything at all.

So ask concerned Citizens  we ask questions. A never popular past time in the City  but sometimes a necessity

Also as we previously discussed, I am working on the video formats of our city commission meetings in a manner that is easily uploaded and viewed. You are correct that the video meetings were on our old website and the current meeting videos will again be available to view on our new site. My goal is to have this project completed by the end of the week.
Should you have any further questions, I am happy to do my best to respond.
Amy L. Burton, CMC
City Clerk
City of Bloomfield Hills

45 E. Long Lake Road

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

The above refers to to our initial correspondence of two  weeks prior. What is most curious is that no one seemed to notice the perpetuity of  October 9th 2012 on the our web site. In our minds the villains of the piece is  not  our City Clerk or staff but all the people who should noticed.but didn't which begs the question is anyone paying attention ?

 A simple announcement that the City Commission meetings due to technical difficulties could  not be posted on the new web site but would in interim would be available on You Tune (No charge to the City) or Vimeo (nominal charge) until further notice would have sufficed. Instead seven months went by, approximately  $2000 was paid for the filming, City Commission  in TV speak faded to black and the residents were left in the dark.

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