Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jim Bemis shares information on his effort to get a clear resolution to some of his long-standing complaints to the Telecom Board at the April 21, 2011, meeting of the Telecom Board

April 14, 2011
Telecom Board and City Staff --
At the Board's March Subcommittee meeting, I was encouraged by the Subcommittee's and Staff's thoughtful approach to improving the complaint and appeal process. In preparation for the Board's further discussion at their April meeting, I've summarized the Subcommittee's main topics below, as seen from my perspective as complainant and requester, as well as public access video producer.

In my view, there was general agreement that:
1. the current complaint/appeal process requires updating and clarification and specification of the terms and procedures used (i.e.:complaint, appeal, request, comment, suggestion.) The revised step-wise process would also specify the roles and responsibilities of the Board, the City Staff, the contracted PEG channels, and the City Council, and/or other related entities. The process would include a form for submitting items, as well as a standardized means for documenting/archiving the results of Board consideration, with provision for maintaining access via the City's web site.
2. Documentation of all actions taken would be quickly available to the requester/complainant and the public at each step within the process, with time-certain provisions for responses to be made by PEG channel staff and the Board. Similarly, the responses and actions taken would be systematically archived and maintained by the City.
3. As a specific request by City staff, the Board would provide a written response regarding all actions taken by the Board, including the Board's rationale and findings of fact regarding their decision, preferably with a vote by the Board.
3. City staff was asked to prepare a draft of the above suggested process for discussion by the full Board at the Board's April 21 monthly meeting. The resulting approved process would then be used for identification of and timely consideration of earlier complaints and requests that currently remain unaddressed.
4. Similarly, the Subcommittee and Staff expressed a general need for further clarification of the Board's Administrative Rules. ( I heard no specific recommendations as to how the complaint/appeal process and the Administrative Rules would be related in term of Board policy, City staff procedures, and related PEG channel policy and procedures. ) There was general agreement that the Board should conduct all of its communications so as to comply with FOIA criteria, with careful attention given to complying with open-meeting provisions when Board members exchange emails regarding Board business.
5. Additionally, Subcommittee discussion centered on the need for a more timely Agenda setting process and delineation of the process to be used. A tentative suggestion was that a draft Agenda be prepared for circulation to the Board at least 10 days before the scheduled monthly Board meeting. (Thus, as I understand the discussion, City staff and the Board chair would work jointly to prepare a draft for Board review. The draft would be sent to the Board on Monday of the week previous the week of the Board's monthly meeting ( which is held on the third Thursday of each month.)
I hope that the above notes will be useful for the Board’s discussion and at future meetings of the ad hoc Subcommittee, as well as the Board’s Policy Subcommittee. The Subcommittee meeting video can be reviewed on You Tube at: . The video is also being shown on the public access channel previous to the Board meeting.
I would appreciate copies of this note being made available to the Board in its April meeting packet, as wall as to the newly-organized Your Media Board. I would also appreciate receiving copies of the monthly Board packet for April, as well as any related Board communications.
Thank you for your consideration,
Jim Bemis