Videos: Best Practices Working Group Meetings of 10/29; Get Your Suggestions in Now

Two working groups of the Best Practices Committee met on October 29. In the morning, David Narkewicz, Wendy Foxmyn and Lisa DePiano met as the Inreach Working Group. In the evening, Wendy Foxmyn and Alex Ghiselin met as members of the Report Writing Working Group. Here are complete Vimeo videos of both meetings, with the evening meeting on top.

Report Writing Working Group (41 minutes):

Highlights of the conversation:

8min:12sec: Which officials can tap legal advice? The mayor controls which officials have access to this advice

9min:26sec: City council has no budget except for their own stipends and their part-time clerk

10min:30sec: Does the city council have a meaningful role in the budget process anymore? The council can only wield the blunt tool of budget cuts

City council had more input into the budget 20 years ago. What shifted?

City council used to appoint the assessors. Treasurer was elected (not necessarily a good thing). There were other sources of executive authority beyond the mayor

 Several people have concern about the number of appointments vested in the mayor. The city council is reluctant to veto these appointments. It’s hard to turn down someone volunteering their services

You could consider term limits for appointments, maybe limit appointees to two terms. You could also limit the number of committees a person could serve on, and which committees councilors may serve on

The December 4 deadline for draft recommendations is drawing near. The Best Practices Committee may want to ask for an extension

27min:15sec: Aspects of a good meeting include that it’s accessible, you can hear, people are introduced, it has a clear agenda, it started on time, people were treated well, their questions were answered, the public had an appropriate amount of time for input…

31min:20sec: Members of the Best Practices Committee will be asked to bring their recommendations to the November 5 meeting so as to speed things along

35min:40sec: Now is the time for the public to get their own recommendations in to the committee

Inreach Working Group (18 minutes):

The Inreach Working Group discussed the progress of their interviews with city officials. They are gathering information about how officials make decisions and involve the public, and how the decision-making process might be improved.

The Best Practices Committee is charged to present draft recommendations to the City Council by December 4, so now is indeed the time for members of the public to submit their suggestions. Do so at the Best Practices Suggestion Box.

See also:

Video: October 23 Best Practices Meeting; Report Deadline Draws Near

Web Home of Ad Hoc Committee on Best Practices in Northampton Decision-Making

Best Practices Meeting Minutes

Video: September 25 Best Practices Meeting; Forum on Smith College Overlay District to be Considered

Research on Best Practices in Other Communities

Video: Best Practices Forum Studies Evolution of Meadows Plan

Video: Best Practices Workshop Evaluates Public Forum; Hotel Decision-Making Process Scrutinized; Wanting More from Local Media

Best Practices: Pictures and Video from the May 13 Public Forum

Transcribed Public Comments from the Best Practices Forum of May 13