Transparency in government is an important democratic value. It is also important in Saint John to build trust with our residents so that they feel part of the team that will promote Saint John as a great place to live, work and play. It is an important part of retaining and recruiting residents.
In 2008 when I was first on council, our open meetings were broadcast on Rogers Channel 10 television. Unfortunately, competition in the industry meant that many people no longer had Rogers as their service provider and therefore no access to Saint John Council without appearing in person.
I brought a motion forward to have our meetings live streamed on the internet. Our fantastic Common Clerk’s department worked with Rogers to not only have our meetings live streamed, but also archived on the Rogers internet site so that anyone with internet access could watch, rewatch, or fast forward to their favourite part of a Saint John Common Council meeting.
During this mandate of council, our Common Clerk’s department has worked to record and broadcast all open council meetings, including our Growth and Finance committees through Saint John’s own YouTube channel. Moving forward, we need to expand this service to include the Police Commission open meetings, Transit and Parking open meetings, and meetings of the soon-to-be-created Protective Services Council Committee.
Councilors must be available to have conversations with residents and city stakeholders through their mandate. Whether these conversations happen in person or through electronic means, respectful conversations are important to understanding the position someone has with regards to our community. While watching the open meetings is a great start, questions need to have answers, and it is the Councilor’s job to help with that understanding. We will not always agree, but through respectful dialogue my hope is that we can understand and move forward together.
We have a great little city here, Let’s Keep the Momentum going Saint John! SullivanSJ2021