Fayetteville Nominating Committee: If folks are camera shy at the starting gate, maybe they shouldn’t even consider public service | Street Jazz

Fayetteville Nominating Committee: If folks are camera shy at the starting gate, maybe they shouldn’t even consider public service

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I wish that Mayor Lioneld Jordan had not voted the way he did when he broke the split vote on the Fayetteville City Council, with his vote to table Adella Gray’s proposal to prohibit recording of the Nominating Committee for city positions.

If it had come to the city council for discussion and vote on October 1, the Fayetteville public would have had a chance to weigh in on the matter.

Ironically, Ms. Gray, when she said that meeting times of the nominating committee are published and that the public is welcome to attend has invited a form of political activism that hasn’t been seen in City Hall in quite some time.

But we’ll get to that in a moment.

Perhaps the wisest thing that James T. Kirk ever said (what do you mean, he’s a fictional character?) was in The Wrath of Khan, when he said, “You have to know why things work on a starship.” That same principle holds true for government, as well:

You have to know why and how things work the way they do, which is why something like the Government Channel is so vital . . . and by extension, public access television, for when citizens wish to debate the issues facing the city, on interview programs, Short Takes, documentaries or citizen forums.

That would include the Nominating Committee, which interviews those who wish to serve on citizen committees, and then makes their recommendations to the city council.

Over the past 20 plus years, literally hundreds of Fayetteville citizens have sat on boards and committees. It is generally a pretty pain-free process. You present yourself to the committee, who ask you questions about your qualifications, your views and vison.

It is difficult to believe that in 2013, we have a situation similar to that of 1993, when Fayetteville’s Planning Commission refused point-blank to allow the FGC to present their meetings to the public.

Then, as now, of course, the meeting times were announced and were open to the public. If not for a merry band of public access producers, the Planning Commission might still not be on TV. For reference:

Fayetteville, 1993: Convincing Planning Commission to do the right thing took a form of video guerrilla warfare

http://www.arktimes.com/StreetJazz/archives/2011/05/10/fayetteville-1993-convincing-planning-commission-to-do-the-right-thing-took-a-form-of-video-guerilla-warfare

Though things may be going along swimmingly now, it has not always been so. Indeed, some applicants in the past for city positions - even though they were eminently qualified - did not even get the courtesy of an interview.

Having the meetings shown on television would prevent any accusations of cronyism, which has raised its ugly head in the past, and would allow the people of Fayetteville to see that all applicants are not only being asked the very same questions, but it would allow us all to gauge the attitude of the committee towards various candidates.

And here is an ugly truth - which I have harped on before, on many occasions - about volunteer positions on boards and committees, whether those bodies be civic or non-profit . . .

. . . a lot of folks who apply for seats are nothing more than resume padders, with nothing more useful to offer than a water jug, should there be one.

I have been on boards with such as these, and most who have sat on boards can tell you about those who are just adding another few lines to their resume. The woods are full of political candidates who have touted their “community involvement” by sitting on many boards.

It’s almost impossible to go back and find out if they were worth their salt as members, or were just seat fillers.

If candidates are too shy to speak up about something they claim to truly care about right at the starting gate, what hope do we have that they will ever speak up? Or prove to us why they deserve the position over someone else?

I’m not sure that the private discussion of the Nominating Committee itself needs to be on the FGC, but the interviews certainly belong there.

And that way, if they do an about face somewhere down the line, and go against what they supposedly believe in, we’ll have something to refer to.

But as Adella Gray told us herself, the meeting times are published and open to the public.

Do they really want a replay of 1993?

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Quote of the Day

It's harder to be Liberal than a Conservative, because it is easier to give someone the finger than a helping hand. - Mike Royko

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