Address to the council on 10 November. There has been no response.
First, I wish to express my appreciation for you going back to having Public Speaking at the beginning. I note it is now called Public Forum.
However, I find it a major step back by not having it web streamed or it being recorded. The streaming allows other ratepayers to hear concerns raised. They are now excluded. Where does this stand with openness and transparency?
The refusal to record is a major breach of the right to have a public record of what was said and discussed with elected representatives. It needs to be recorded so there is no issue in the future as to what was actually said.
It avoids misunderstandings between Councillors, ratepayers and staff. If answers are given to questions raised, or if issues are raised, it is vital that those answers and issues are recorded so everyone can be held accountable for what they said.
Without a public record there is no institutional memory, and more important no one will be able to quote what had been said because there is nothing to quote. You are denying the public to be part of the institutional memory. It gives the appearance of their participation as being valueless.
I understand that a reason given for your decision was that recording would be off putting to people participating. I have never heard anyone raise it as an issue, or say they would not speak because it was on record. We the people want it recorded to keep it all open honest and transparent.
I notice that the Mayor in his column celebrating the great solution he had reached with the Public Forum idea failed to mention first, there was no recording; secondly those watching on live streaming would be excluded. Is that being open?
Council could/should consult in the issue –- a blanket ban on recording won’t work, there has to be reasons, and reasons need information, and information needs consultation.
Council could always ask the individual speakers in the public forum whether they want to be recorded or not –- pretty easy to use and on/off button surely.
Please rectify these glaring defects now.