Letter to the Editor of Record-Journal April 2021
In a government meeting recorded by part-time staff of Wallingford Government TV (WGTV) the Mayor says, “It is not TV anymore. I am looking at a number of options to address staff changes.” This happens on the eve of Scott Hanley’s last day as WGTV Director. Scott’s retirement has been known about for over a year. There is no plan to replace, contract, or reorganize WGTV.
In my opinion, Scott departs but the administrative clouds that constrained his work, remains. He was a firewall for transparency and provider of excellence. Our Mayor of more than three decades did his last Mayor’s Corner TV show in the mid-80’s. He refused to leverage the massive institutional knowledge and talent which enabled decades of unparalleled, while limited, excellence in Government TV with a transition plan.
The technophobia cloud is multi-layered. Failure to address infrastructure for robust ‘LIVE’ meeting streaming is huge. Some members of the public want to retain the covid perk of ‘LIVE’ viewing and remote participation in government proceedings. It is very likely to vanish in 2021. Another cloud is disenfranchising the public. Transparency, a core reason for government television in most communities, is always ‘one permission’ away.
Government TV is still TV. But unfortunately its primary purpose, open government, transparency and ease of the public’s access to the debate and decisions of elected officials and open interaction with leadership remains tenuous.
It appears that the future of WGTV, still in the hands of someone who never saw its value, relies upon the belief in its purpose by two long serving part-timers. It is true that operating this public service is less reliant on a TV Channel. But what is working? What is not? Let’s optimize the change and amplify the good with open discussion of what is possible.