Cicero Town Board meetings are a major part of our local government. Along with that come actual roles of the supervisor, town councilors, and all other department head personnel who were elected by the residents to represent them. Remembering a history lesson and a painting by Norman Rockwell, titled "Freedom of Speech" and sometimes called "Town Hall Meeting," I have come to realize the importance of this history lesson at every town board meeting. The freedom we have to express ourselves openly is publicly displayed there.
Our town board meetings seem to attract the media whenever there are major issues on the agenda, particularly with high visibility, compared to just a routine meeting. That is unfortunate because each meeting is of the same importance. Focusing on mundane tasks of a routine nature really are the key issues moving deliberately towards decisions being made and actions being taken. These meetings are like a mystery novel, you really need to attend every meeting to hear the dialogue and follow along, so that you fully grasp and understand what makes your town "tick." Although the media can report and summarize there is nothing like being there to hear everything first hand and to be able to interact as well.
While attendance varies based on high interest in specific issues, it is nice to have the support from residents, understanding a certain trust that comes with the elected position and expecting board members to make conscious decisions. We also have the opportunity for high school student participation in attendance at our meetings, giving them the experience to witness local government first hand.
Open discussion and interaction amongst town board members, discussion during public hearings and presentations from special committees are just a few of the agenda items. There are debates and disagreements, but as board members, each has an obligation to present there perspectives on issues and to have constructive discussions with information to support their decisions. Board members have assigned accountabilities within the town which allows them to work directly with various departmental heads. This improves the productivity of the town hall and also focuses on working together as a team.