Town Manager James McKenna has proven to be somewhat of a visionary in the town in the short time he has been here. He has shown that he knows how to present a plan and execute it,Â while saving money and improving the townâ€™s physical appearance. His town-wide consolidation plan and his transformation of the E.B. Newton School Building to a fully functioning Cultural Center and home to solid Winthrop businesses and organizations are just two of his innovative ideas that have produced good results during his tenure.
McKenna is now at the forefront of another bold and forward-thinking proposal that was first advanced by former Council President Jeffrey Turco. He has presented a plan that would result in the televising of all board and commission meetings in the town to allow residents to view them on their home computers. The name of the company being suggested for the plan is Granicus, and after a review of their work in other communities,Â itâ€™s clear that theyâ€™re on to something that residents (political junkies especially) would fine useful.
But McKenna wants to implement the plan in the right way and ensure professionalism to the telecasts,Â much in the same manner that WCAT Executive Director Mike Cabral presently does with our Council and School Committee meetings. It wonâ€™t reflect well on the town and its government boards if the camera angles arenâ€™t set up properly in the respective meeting rooms (likely the Cummings School and the Joseph Harvey Room at Town Hall) and if close-ups of the various speakers at the meeting arenâ€™t clear. So McKenna is asking the council to consider an expenditure (in an amount still to be determined) to make sure that Winthrop approaches this novel idea with professionalism and clarity from the very beginning.
It is expected that the Council will be voting on McKennaâ€™s proposal at a meeting within the next month or so. Itâ€™s a good idea, but as McKenna has stressed, it has to be done the right way right from the beginning. We urge the Council to give our town manager the resources he needs to carry out his plan.