Thursday, May 14, 2009

TV Board Revitalization Sought

City Council reorganization and mayoral address on Channel 74.

Members of the Plainfield Cable Television Advisory Board and other officials are seeking to fill board seats as questions continue regarding the functioning of Channel 74.

Lacking a quorum Thursday, members held an informal discussion on how to revitalize the board, which has oversight of the local origination channel provided by Comcast of the Plainfields. Programming has been stalled since early spring, since the loss of the city public information officer and the need to contract with a consultant who formerly developed shows for the channel.

At its May 11 meeting, the City Council approved a contract with Blok Box LLC, which had previously served in the 2007-08 fiscal year and had qualified to 2008-09, but until this month had no contract.

The advisory board needs more citizen members as a first step and at Thursday's meeting detailed several other steps necessary to get programming to the level desired by the public. One key issue lately is to have school board meetings aired, as City Council meetings have been in recent months. School board member and liaison to the City Council Patricia Barksdale presented a DVD to City Council member Linda Carter Monday, saying it was one of five or six awaiting airing on Channel 74.

The TV board has several categories of membership, including a mayoral designee, a city official, three council members, representatives of the school board and public library, four citizens and three citizen alternates. The mayor's designee is her husband, Peter R. Briggs. Carter and Councilman Rashid Burney are two of the council representatives, the third being unclear. Jan Massey and Quadir Lewis are citizen members.

Councilwoman Annie McWilliams attended Thursday's TV board meeting and pledged to recruit more citizen members, while Barksdale said she will look into assignment of a school board liaison. TV board members will check with City Clerk Laddie Wyatt on the status of other seats.

The TV board's chairperson must come from the Class VI citizen category and at present there is no chairman or secretary.

Any citizen interested in serving on the Plainfield Cable Television Advisory Board may download an application form from the city web site, fill it out and return copies to Wyatt and to the mayor's office. Terms are for three years or the unexpired portion of such a term.

The duties and responsibilities of the TV advisory board include making recommendations to mayor and council on cable operations, making annual reports to the same and to "encourage and coordinate the use of all available technical equipment and expertise needed by the public and private organizations and private individuals to produce cable television programs," among many others listed in Article 26 of the Agencies and Boards section of the Municipal Code.

The board has dealt with Comcast of the Plainfields since its inception, but is also exploring possibilities of expanded franchise fees and service as Verizon FiOS takes hold in Plainfield.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the positions are filled. It is that only two or three attend.

9:06 AM  

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