Monday, May 04, 2009

Contract May Cure Channel 74 Woes

A proposed resolution Monday to hire a media consultant for Channel 74 promised improvement, but also raised many questions about money, the station's mission and its execution.

The local origination channel was a hard-won trophy of the city's franchise negotiations about 10 years ago. In fact, there was to be both a municipal and a school district channel. Recently, officials have escalated the demand for a school district channel.

Meanwhile, the resolution spoke to the need for programming on the city channel. It seems a past consultant in the 2007-08 budget year, Blok Box, was not qualified for the contract until Aug. 18, 2008 in the FY 2009 budget year. The consultant worked until February, racking up a tab of $23,400, which was paid. But there was other work for which the consultant was not paid.

Not being a math whiz, Plaintalker was thinking that the consultant would get the $23,400 plus the $50,000 and also an undisclosed amount owed. Officials clarified Monday that the total amount could not exceed $50,000.

Nonetheless, this consultant did not apparently start work until 49 days into the fiscal year and then was off from February to the present.

One wonders, why and how were funds expended without a contract for most of the year and how come now the city is playing legal catch-up?

City Administrator Marc Dashield said the city will have the TV consultant qualification and the contract coincide for the 2010 fiscal year.

The city established a Cable Television Advisory Board several years ago to oversee the local channel, but it has lacked full membership and has not addressed issues such as the pending franchise renewal process with Comcast of the Plainfields.

Plaintalker has not viewed Channel 74 much lately, but would be interested in comments or observations on its function in recent times.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A travesty and a disgrace, Bernice. Like everything else about this administration. They're looting the community.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that the council has the ability to say NO to this contract.


9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Verizon now going door-to-door to get people to sign up for FIOS, there will be even fewer people able to even see what might be distributed through Channel 74. You can only get it if you have Comcast Cable. If you're like me, with an antenna, or are contemplating FIOS, you can forget ever having access to the channel. It's old technology now. So there's a lot the Council could address when revisiting the contract.

11:12 AM  

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