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Resolution to allow phone call township meetings.
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:29 am    Post subject: Resolution to allow phone call township meetings. Reply with quote

Teleconferencing. This method of meeting was formerly prohibited, but now may be allowed. The reason given for not allowing it was that one of the primary purposes of the Open Meetings act was to "provide members of the public the opportunity to be present so that they can observe the manner in which the public bodies transact business."

I might presume to suggest that the reason for passing a resolution to allow teleconferencing would be convenience for the board members that, at present, must stay on the island to attend board meetings.

I wonder if any thought by your "supposed' representatives was given to what their constituents (you) might think of their township board using this method?

I know what I think, it stinks. What do you all think?
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:43 am    Post subject: Teleconferencing Reply with quote

Good topic. I thought for a minute as I read your thread that we could all be in on the meetings.

How could the general public "attend", record, hear, or witness our township officials in action? Maybe that is their intended use. No more "Gotchas" with recording devices.
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Point
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess my question is "why does it stink". It is currently used all over the U.S. as a legal method to make sure public meetings occur in a timely manner. I have seen posted public meetings that had many members of the public present with only a couple members of the board. The remainder are on speaker phone. They voice that opinions, objections etc., all is tape and open to the public. The public can speak to those members on hand or on the speaker phone. Heck some of you not on the island for 3 or 4 months could now even run for office. My opinion a great way to assist in running a government. Like it our not it is modern technology that works for the good of the general public!!
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Point
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Point wrote:
I guess my question is "why does it stink". It is currently used all over the U.S. as a legal method to make sure public meetings occur in a timely manner. I have seen posted public meetings that had many members of the public present with only a couple members of the board, the remainder are on speaker phone. They voice that opinions, objections etc., all is tape and open to the public. The public can speak to those members on hand or on the speaker phone. Heck some of you not on the island for 3 or 4 months could now even run for office. My opinion a great way to assist in running a government. Like it our not it is modern technology that works for the good of the general public!!



Sorry this posted twice some how!!!!!!!!!!
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Squeaky
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stinks???? Don't think so. Would be great. Like Point says, Modern Technology... Great for those of us that can not attend meetings. We would have complete knowledge to what is said at these meetings and we could have more input, like right now and not before nor after.
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:35 am    Post subject: It all sounds good Reply with quote

It all sounds good but call me old fashioned. I think something is lost when the person is not sitting there in front of you so you can see body language and facial expression. Even with interactive TV, I just don't like it. I get the feeling that the meeting has been scripted more than normal. Possible personal problem that others do not have. I feel that something is lost.
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Point
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Old fashioned or not it is the law and has been decided by the courts. This method of holding public meetings is well outlined in the "Open Meetings Act". A township board would not be doing their legal duty if they prohibited this method if a quorum was not available. Granted that changes the way small communities do business, but that might not be all bad.
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the answer to my question, " how do we hear what they are saying first hand", is if at least one member is sitting in the BBI meeting room and, lets say five other officials are all on the phone, we can hear everyone and address everyone? Is that right? Technology exists that When I am on the island, and I go to a meeting, even though only one official is there, they can still carry on and the public can be in on it all?

I'm not up to speed on this stuff.
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Squeaky
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the modern world and we have to move with it. I would think that those on the township would want this also, as this would help them too. Many times body language and facial expressions can be and are deceiving.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting concept. I just wonder how well it would realistically work?

How would the meeting be kept in order? Is the telecon limited to board members only?

Hypothetically: lets say there are 25 interested individuals all listening in a conference call. Someone takes exception to something said and then starts blurting out their opinion, completely out of order. How then would such an individual be made to keep quiet? Or even identify them for that matter? EGADS!

Who (whomever "who" claims to be) gets to speak and when?

I am not up on this technology either, but it sounds like a 4 star trainwreck having a simple open conference call involving a "crowd".
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:21 pm    Post subject: Virtual Presence Reply with quote

The plain language of the OMA does not make reference to use of technology, but court cases have. If done correctly, it is legal. I suppose you could have someone there to unlock the doors and run the phones and the "virtual presence" of the officials would constitute a quorum for a meeting.

Maybe I'm just plain jealous. I can see my public official know, sitting in the shade of a palm tree, near a pool, margarita in one hand and cell phone in the other, "participating" in a township meeting.

It may be legal, but I still think it has a bad odor about it.
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Point
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Telephone conference calls are used throughout the county. It's addressed in the federal level Open Meetings Act as well as the state level Open Meetings Act. In Michigan, one can review the case law known as Goode v DSS. Like other meetings, they must be posted in advanced. There is at least one person at the identified location for the meeting. Public is welcome. The conference calls are over speaker phones. All incoming members must be able to be heard from that speaker phone, thus allowing the meeting to be more open to the public because the call can be broadcasted in multiple areas. Other states that Michigan's law closely resembles is the Illinois Open Meetings Act and California.

Another note, all the calls must be tested and each party including the public at the posted location must be able to hear everything and everyone involved. All votes taken during a teleconference meeting should be by roll call. To answer someones question on this website, the state body is not prohibited from providing members of the public with additional locations where the public may observe or address the group by electronic means, through either audio or both audio and video, but this is also not required. It only needs to be at the posted location.

To further understand this issue of virtual meetings, one can review the Michigan Open Meetings Act and refer to the opinions provided by the Michigan State Attorney's General's Office. Ultimately, the modern technology has improved the government's ability to function under all conditions. Those of us on the island will have the capabilities to address the township board year round even if members of the board are on vacation or out of the area. This can and has made the government run more efficiently in the past.
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: none Reply with quote

point = Loren?

Welcome.
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Point
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NO not Loren, but thank's for the compliment. He's a really nice guy, and his wife is one of the nicest people on the island.
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Squeaky
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great explanantion Point.
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Squeaky
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great explanation Point. Sorry for the second posting. Can't delete it... Rolling Eyes
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:07 pm    Post subject: Teleconferencing Reply with quote

Point = ?

John Elmer Engel = John Elmer Engel

Nice legal explanation, Point. I like the part about me, sitting in Bay City and hearing, maybe even seeing, the meeting as it is taking place. Is that possible with the correct equipment?

I think Loren is a nice guy too. Don't really know him very well but Loren's vision of preserving, conserving, and protecting BBI is as old as the berms on BBI or the leveled berms on BBI. I think the teleconferencing would be a real plus so that, at least, the "tone" could be determined by all interested parties.

Bottom line: If teleconf equals more access-good. If it creates a shroud of mystery or a lack of access-bad.
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Point
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Point=Point

That is my point!!! The island must legally enter into the 21st century, like it or not.
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Al'sOtherSister
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a problem with someone that comes on here, will not identify themselves, and only responds when something is mentioned about the township board.


Mike, it is true that we have to try and move ourselves forward in to the 22nd century and if this is something that will help, especially if these people need to be somewhere else, other than the Island, when a meeting takes place, so be it. Just as long as all can be heard and understood.
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Point
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then make it a sight requirement at sign-up that everyone must identifiy themselves, not just folks or issues you don't agree with. That is probably why 600-650 folks chose to remain annonymous. I personally don't know who 90% of the people are who post messages and really don't care.
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Al'sOtherSister
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Point...you have a really bad attitude and that is my opinion.
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bknoll
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I personally don't know who 90% of the people are who post messages and really don't care.


Wow....that's kind of cold! As Conis has mentioned before, probably 90% of the regular posters here know each other in some form, whether it be through relation, meetings on the island or just getting to know each other through this site by emails and personal messages. We may need a big group therapy session to heal our damaged self esteem now that we've come to the realization that you don't care about us. Sad

I kind of liked your post about the teleconferencing idea but now can't help but wonder if there isn't some underlying self serving agenda here that could result. Guess I'll wait and see.
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mikewhite
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:25 am    Post subject: Discussion is the goal Reply with quote

Discussion of the subject is my goal. I have some poor reasons for not liking teleconferencing as you can read above. I asked two questions to start this topic. One was what do others think? If others think it is great that is fine. At least they got to think about it and make up their mind.

The other question I asked was:

I wonder if any thought by your "supposed' representatives was given to what their constituents (you) might think of their township board using this method?

This hasn't been discussed to anyones satisfaction yet. It looks pretty obvious that some of the board loves the idea, but did they ask any of the people they represent for their opinions on teleconferencing?

At least now more of the people the township represents are aware that the board will pass a teleconferencing resolution in the near future.

Therefore, you could say that I have helped the township spread the word of what they are about to do. Is that wrong?
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:26 am    Post subject: Teleconferencing Reply with quote

I totally respect an annonymous name on this site. I just found it humorous when Mike took a shot at "who point" actually is.

Point is advocating teleconferencing because, according to him, it can be done with total openness. Do you find it a bit ironic, Point, that you advocate tele. meetings as full access meetings but you remain totally annonymous while selling the product?

Life is full of irony.
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bknoll
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John....sounds like the English teacher coming out of you again!!
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