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Getting on bored

It's a fun job.

Reporters get to attend every type of event imaginable from ball games to employee anniversaries. And, of course, the routine board and council meetings. I'm sure I've used this before, but most of the time, board meetings could be spelled b-o-r-e-d.

There is responsibility involved, though. At a recent event, the keynote speaker made the observation that there is only about five minutes of actual news each day and the rest is entertainment. The fact that society is seeking entertainment news, and that hard news is available over the internet instantly is taking it's toll on large newspapers. Thankfully, community newspapers like ours are still well-loved by their readers.

But back to my original train of thought: the attendance of media reporters at bored, I mean board, meetings is the only real measure of accountability that boards have. That is, unless every taxpayer would like to attend every meeting himself. Just imagining that makes me smile. One thing is for sure - things could get interesting. I love listening to whispered observations of those who sometimes drop in on meetings.

If you've never been and are considering going, let me fill you in on what to expect. Every meeting opens with a call to order, roll call and pledge to the American flag, followed by the approval of minutes from the previous meeting. Yawning yet? Actually, the pledge of allegiance is always a highlight for me, as I could never tire of hearing that I live in "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Next is public input time. On occasion, this is really exciting. But usually there isn't any at all, which is unfortunate. Following is the remainder of the agenda, which includes reports from committees, reports on old business, discussion of new business, ZZZ, financial reports, requests for funds, ZZZ, policy changes and occasionally a wild idea that just struck a board member during the call to order. For some boards, the agenda has never changed in the two years I've been attending. For others, it changes quite rapidly. Georgia's Sunshine Laws generally require that all information be available for the public. Some boards spoil us by printing every single dot and tittle and handing it out. Others simply print up an agenda. Actually, I sort of like the latter method because it requires that I pay attention, and I don't have to worry about my publisher hearing that I joined the log-sawing choir.

Hello! You can wake up now! I encourage you to attend an open meeting sometime soon. They're free, and if you're lucky, there might be a heated discussion.

If not, at least you'll be guaranteed some ZZZs.

Web posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007

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