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The public meeting is a cornerstone of public service
Point/Counterpoint: Should local council's school boards and county supervisors be permitted to hold electronic meetings?
Sunday, March 10, 2013
The world has changed a great deal since the “Leave It to Beaver” depiction of work and family life portrayed in the ’50s and ’60s. But that TV world never really existed in the first place.
Despite the show’s assumption that everyone lived and worked in the same small town, America’s economy, geography and economics have probably not been that static and homogenous since the Industrial Revolution.
Men — and more women since the days of The Beave — have been working night shifts or two jobs, in different towns, with different and frustrating commutes. They’ve always had family obligations, personal challenges and other commitments.
Our choices in one area of our lives impact other areas. For some, that impact is prohibitive. For others, they find a way to absorb it.
Those who seek public office are no different. They have always had to weigh these demands on their time against the responsibilities public office would add to them. Many a potential candidate has either passed up seeking office or has stepped down because the strain on his or her family was too great.
Every person who assumes office should assume that public service will take a significant amount of time and will include conducting the public’s business in public. The public meeting is a cornerstone of public service. E-meetings would undoubtedly be easier, but if expanded too far, the meetings stop being the public’s business.
Meeting in person is a part of the process. The advancement of technology doesn’t change that. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “What has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Public meetings. Under the sun. I like that.
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