Supervisor's Corner: Continued Efforts for the Town to Communicate Better to its Citizens
By Webster Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty
***PLEASE NOTE: Previously, these columns have been edited for grammar/spelling/proper formatting purposes. However, the column below has NOT been edited, and it appears as originally written by the supervisor.***
When I entered office in January 2020, I assumed the first few months would be a discovery phase for me. I needed to ask a lot of questions and LISTEN to the Town Board members, Department heads, and employees on what they thought were the strengths and weaknesses of how the Town Government operated. The reality is, how could I know what needed to be changed, if anything, if I did not have 1st hand knowledge from the people in the trenches carrying out the Town government's mission.
One thing I heard about early on was the Electronic Town Meetings that had been conducted monthly for the past several years. If you are not familiar with them, they were monthly LIVE 1-hour television shows aired on the town cable channel. Most recently in 2019, they were moderated by Barry Howard, the Webster Chamber of Commerce CEO, along with Prior Town Supervisor, Ron Nesbitt. Think of them as Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon!(LOL) They would have 1-3 guests on each show that usually consisted of Town Department heads or other pertinent non town government entity leaders in Webster These shows were intended to be both informative and entertaining to the viewers. After watching a few tapes of the shows, I was so excited to get them started up in 2020! Then... COVID hit in mid March and that was the end of any plans to start production again of these televised/videotaped meetings. Masks, social distancing, etc. does not play well for the production staff, the hosts of the show, the ability to have guests, and the viewing audience.
After a lot of discussion and planning during COVID, the Electronic Town Meetings will be returning to television on Wednesday, February 24th with Host Barry Howard and yours truly, Supervisor Tom Flaherty. While the show will look a little different due to COVID, the show will still offer residents the latest Town news and information each month. At the onset while COVID is still prevalent, the shows will have NO guests and only Barry and I will be on the dais. We will be at least 6-feet apart and have a clear polyurethane barrier between us as we will NOT be wearing masks so the viewing audience has a better visual and auditory experience. The shows will initially be pre-taped and 30 minutes in length instead of the 1-hour LIVE they were in the past. This will help us work out any "bugs" that may come up so that once again, the end production is the best quality for the viewer. The show will air on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on Spectrum channel 1303 and will also be available on the Town’s website: ci.webster.ny.us under Watch Town Meetings. We're also hoping to use some 5-20 second snippets from these shows to put on social media. If there are topics or questions you would like to see discussed on our upcoming shows, please email your ideas to: Communications@ci.webster.ny.us.
As always, if you want to reach me, please call (585) 872-7068 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.