Councillor cites tradition over technology
Although some City Councillors consider it an outdated tradition, police officers will continue to deliver the meeting packets to councillors on the Fridays before meetings. Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe introduced a motion to do away with the police deliveries, but only got Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino to side with him when it came time for a final vote.
“I just felt like potentially not using the resources of the police department, or anyone for that matter, to deliver us the packets,” said Keefe. “If the [city] clerk puts together the packets on Thursday, there’s ample time towards the afternoon and Thursday evening and/or Friday during regular business to pick them up, or Monday before the council meeting rather than having them hand delivered to us.”
Keefe said he does like having the paper copies in front of him, but noted that the councillors also receive the meeting packets digitally. “When I got on [the council] two years ago, I had always heard the rumor that the police officers deliver the packets on the Friday nights before the meetings, and then, lo and behold, it was true,” said Serino.
Serino said he understood that in the past there may have been older councillors who were not as technologically savvy, but said he still did not feel right when a police officer takes time out of a patrol to deliver a paper packet to him that he’s already read online. He said councillors who don’t have the time to pick up the packets at City Hall might want to use their committee funds to purchase an industrial office printer so they can print the packets at home. “I don’t see what the issue is with doing away with this antiquated tradition,” said Serino. “I think we can move into the 21st-century.”
Councillor-at-Large Steve Morabito said he understood the intent of the motion, but was against it. “First of all, we are not wasting city resources; this has been a tradition of the City Council,” he said. “It’s not as if one person is riding around … in a police cruiser delivering packages to the City Council. They are patrolling the neighborhoods. So you have 11 different councillors – while they are patrolling the neighborhoods, they drop them off to the city councillors.”
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo also spoke in favor of keeping the status quo. “It’s nice that these police officers – they are in their particular sectors – will come by our houses. We’ll have a chance to catch up,” said Rizzo. “Sometimes, it’s the only time during the week that I have a conversation … when they are dropping off my package, and I think it is a good way to talk to members of our law enforcement and to find out what’s going on around the city.”
Individual councillors could always opt out of having the meeting packets delivered, Rizzo added.