Montclair Council Meeting: Conference, Regular and What Gets Televised

Monday, Oct 08, 2012 4:36pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

Montclair’s council meets tomorrow night and here’s the full agenda, which includes among other items for discussion, an ordinance authorizing a street change for Edgewood Terrace to Yogi Berra Way and an introduction of an amendment to the Sidewalk Cafe ordinance.

If you have tuned into TV34 to watch coverage of council meetings in the past, you may have noticed that the new council conducts meetings differently than the previous council, and as a result, you may be seeing less of the Tuesday night council meeting on TV.

Former councilor Cary Africk offers his explanation:

The Council has two kinds of meetings: Conference and Regular. The Regular meetings are usually preceded by a Conference meeting, but sometimes, like tomorrow, just a Conference meeting is held. This lets the Council get a lot of work done.

The new Council operates in a mode where the business of the town is discussed in these untelevised, “Conference” meetings. That way, when there is a Regular meeting following, the Council goes to “Chambers” for the televised meeting and business can be quickly voted on and concluded.

The meeting tomorrow will only be a conference meeting and will cover many issues of importance to residents. It is a public meeting, and you can attend, and speak.

For general information purposes to the residents, the second floor conference room does have an ability to televise live. The Conference meetings can be shown, live on TV34.

Also the State Open Public Meetings Act permits people to do their own taping, just as long as it is unobtrusive and doesn’t disrupt things.

Resident Sandy Sorkin, in comments, mentioned asking at the last meeting about having documents being reviewed by the council in non-televised conference sessions be posted on the web site, or made linkable from the agenda.

We want to know what you think…take our poll, and then feel free to add in comments, your thoughts about how council meetings are handled, the public access and if you watch from home or attend in person and how frequently.


  1. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 08, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    The poll misses a couple of key points. I agree that, were this just an issue of live broadcast or not, there’d be limited value.

    However, keep in mind that the video work for a broadcast also means that we have rebroadcasts. If someone isn’t available at the time of the meeting, he or she can watch later. With TV34’s current web technology, this can be at *any* time since meetings are available for on-demand streaming over the Internet.

    A second issue is the video record created by the recording. This is far more detailed than any “minutes” document could be, and may play an important role in some future action or activity.

    Separate from this is Mr. Sorkin’s point of the *documents* being available. All documentation discussed in public meetings should, by definition, be public. If we’re to have the right to comment upon these, then the documents must be available for our review ahead of the meeting.


  2. POSTED BY mtcgma  |  October 09, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    I am curious as to what the ammendment is to the Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance? Is there anyone with any info?

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