Technology helps council members engage from afar

Remote Participation

Mayor Nancy Berry and Councilwoman Julie Schultz welcome James Benham’s remote participation at a recent meeting.

“Indeed it has been said that democ­racy is the worst form of gov­ern­ment, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time …” –Winston Churchill

By Ben Roper, Director of Information Technology

Democratic government is messy, and can be compared to making sausage — no one really likes to watch the process, and not everyone approves of the final product.

Representative government was viewed by the founding fathers as so important that Article I of the U.S. Constitution sets the provisions at the federal level. However, the same concept is even more vital at the local level. As in many cities our size, College Station’s city council members are unpaid volunteers, and their full-time jobs and other demands occasionally conflict with scheduled council meetings.

Not long ago, that meant they sometimes had to miss council meetings, which affected their ability to represent their constituents in the debate and dialogue of a typical meeting. The institution of representative government was not completely fulfilled in those instances.

Continue reading “Technology helps council members engage from afar”