Monday, January 5, 2015

The Elusive Council Agenda

The first council meeting of the year is apparently tonight, 7:30 pm, at Municipal Hall. I only know this because I found a  photo of tonight's agenda posted by a group on Facebook. I tried to find the agenda for myself on and couldn't--not under either listing on the town calendar, not on the quick-find link at the bottom of the website for Council agendas, not under "Resources/Council Minutes."

The photo on Facebook came from a mobile app, so possibly that version of the website is working and up to date, but I don't have a mobile phone that can connect to (and lots of other residents don't either). If the mobile app is the only place we can find an agenda from now on, the Norristown Diary won't be reporting on Council/Zoning/Planning agendas. Not that I couldn't find other things about Norristown to talk about.

But for now, since I have a photo, I'll comment on a few of the items (I apologize for the small size of the photo--that's as big as I could make it).

Regarding the first motion "to approve State Street advisers as the Economic Consultant for 2015," State Street PA is a firm that makes suggestions about public policy and by their own definitions, acts as a link between business and government. On their website, they sound as if they're lobbyists, representing business interests in Harrisburg. The only reason I can see for Norristown to hire them would be to represent our town's interests to the state government.

I would sincerely LOVE to know what ordinance 15-01 says, but there's no explanation on the agenda at all. I found a reference to a notice in the Times Herald on Google, but when I tried looking for it in Times Herald's parent company database, nothing came up for the day cited on Google. So, another case of the Public Comment period tonight coming before the information we need to make an informed comment, before Council adopts the motion.

They're the only 2 items that jump out at me as worth noting. I hope one thing Council will discuss as the begin the year is the lack of communication between themselves and the community. They need to fix the website so agendas are available to everyone with internet access, then put useful information on the agendas, or make pdfs of the proposed ordinances also available on the website.


  1. Who is responsible for drafting the agenda? Who is responsible for posting the agenda?

  2. I'd say that the President of Council is ultimately responsible for writing up the agenda, as in "The Buck Ought To Stop Here." Not sure if it's actually done by the president. As for the actual posting, not sure now that the website has changed. Gabriella Prete used to do the calendar.

  3. This sounds like a topic for the municipal administrator: figure it out, standardize it, and let the public know. In my opinion, first, we need accountability here. Second, I believe our paid staff should be responsible for important but elementary administrative tasks such as these. Let our elected volunteers focus on cracking the whip of progress.