Parkland Meetings Seemed Strategically Planned to Exclude Residents

By Sharon Aron Baron

The future of Parkland is being discussed, but the public will never hear it.

For several years, the City of Parklands Strategic Planning meetings were recorded. This year, even with all the city’s technology options, these planning sessions are now being held without being live-streamed, videotaped, or audio recorded for future reference.

What changed?

Strategic planning is essential. Its the one time of the year when all five commission members discuss the city’s future. They plan the city’s direction with roads, parks, and other things that affect taxes and home values. These should be transparent for all residents to see what elected officials are planning for our future.

Desare Kohn Lasky

What’s even more troubling is that all other city commission meetings are recorded. However, these three meetings are not. 

The meetings are also taking place all day on a Sunday and during normal work hours on a Monday, making it nearly impossible for residents to attend. 

Members of the Pine Tree Estates community used past strategic planning meetings to gather information about the city’s discussions about their roads. As reporters, we used these recordings as a source of information for articles. We prefer the audio and video recordings, so we know exactly who said what.

There are three meetings in the strategic planning sessions. This year, not only are all three not being video-recorded, they are being held at unreasonable hours for the public to attend in person. The first was held on Sunday morning, and Monday and Tuesday’s are at 9:00 a.m. — while most people are at work. 

On February 9, the commission held its first strategic planning session. This was not recorded. When we questioned the city, we were told it was a prelude to strategic planning, not the actual strategic planning session.  

The actual strategic planning sessions will be recorded,” said City Spokesperson Todd DeAngelis.

But on Monday, city officials had changed their minds.

My apologies as I misspoke in my email earlier this year… strategic planning is not being recorded,” said DeAngelis.

Had we known these planning sessions were not going to be recorded, Parkland Talk would have had a reporter in person covering them.  

We did receive a consolation prize. We could have our one-on-one interview with Mayor Walker to summarize three hours of strategic planning sessions — in his own words.

Residents should demand transparency from their city and view or hear these meetings online, like all other meetings. We all have a right to know how the commission is planning our future. 

The question is, why did this commission decide they did not want a video or audio record of this strategic planning session?

Our residents deserve an answer.

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Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.