By JOSH RESNEK
For the fourth time out of the last six ZOOM meetings, ECTV technicians have been unable to properly broadcast the meeting to the public.
Monday night’s disaster, heaped atop all the others, is becoming an embarrassment and making a mockery out the City Council’s effort to conform to new standards during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City Council meeting scheduled for Monday night has been rescheduled for Wednesday night.
However, viewers are losing faith in ECTV’s ability to broadcast while the City Council has done nothing to voice its concern that management at ECTV, in addition to guidance from the City Council, is woefully lacking.
The mayor’s office, the de facto chief of operations and hiring for ECTV, has remained mum about the situation.
Monday’s meeting was typical of those that have been fumbled during the past two months.
The meeting began late, with those awaiting the broadcast confused when the ECTV screen remained black after the 7:00 pm start time.
At about 7:15 pm the broadcast began.
Mind you, a ZOOM televised hearing does not require much technology but whatever little is required, needs an experienced technician to broadcast to the public.
The meeting began with callers responding to the open mic part of the City Council session.
Right from the start, no one in the television audience was able to make any sense out of the speakers – and there were three, before an onslaught of texts from those trying to watch the proceedings and to make sense out of them informed a number of councilors that the speakers could not be heard intelligibly because their sentences were being broken by wide gaps of silence.
At first, as is usual, the city councilors didn’t care.
As long as they can hear themselves and see themselves on the tv screen this is what seems to matter most.
However, by the time the third speaker’s spotty broadcast made no sense and viewers could not make out what she was talking about, with the gaps producing a blacked-out ECTV screen, Council President Rosa DiFlorio decided that maybe it was time to ask her colleagues what to do.
“I’m getting a lot of texts saying the broadcast is bad,” she told her colleagues.
Many of them had already received texts saying the same but no one on the council seemed to show the slightest amount of concern.
Finally, at about 7:30 pm, President DiFlorio and the council canceled the meeting and put it off until Wednesday.
What many viewers have been wondering is whether or not changes will be made to ensure that future ZOOM meetings can be broadcast as they are in hundreds of Massachusetts communities.
The mayor’s office has remained quiet about these persistent ZOOM failures.
This matches the quiet of his City Council.
One wonders when a City Councilor or two of three will be outraged and suggest that changes be made to ensure the proper broadcast of City Council meetings to meet open meeting law requirments.
Add to this technical gaffe, the city’s poor Internet services also weigh on users trying to stay aware on the Internet with news about the pandemic emergency.
The City Council has spent months debating the efficacy of 5G technology that provides faster Internet service. Some councilors try to perpetuate the myth that 5G technology is harmful to residents’ health despite no evidence whatsoever that such a thing is true.
City Councilors, almost to a person, have spent no time protesting the failed ZOOM meetings, and that is a tragedy – not for them – but for the voters of this city and the residents who follow the City Council to be informed.