Millbank to Make Council Meetings Fun
Local News - Newsmakers
Written by Millbank Daily-Weekly   
Sunday, 01 December 2013 14:30

The Millbank City Council has voted to take measures to reverse the recent decline in attendance at their weekly meetings. The chambers are typically full for sessions during summer months, when hooliganism is at its peak and residents lodge complaints about stolen vegetables, graffiti and youths out past the seven p.m. curfew. Once the school year starts, however, reports of petty crime, and meeting attendance, decline.

This fall, however, the decline has been greater than usual, reaching a nadir two weeks ago when only a very small child and one council member were present for a debate on plans to remove rusted metal from the Fun But Dangerous Vacant Lot on Ninth Avenue to the parking lot of the Out of Bounds Saloon.

Open Mic Night“And that kid wasn’t even listening,” noted Councilman Gary Shanks. “His parents just dropped him off to get free babysitting. It made me sad.”

A city spokesman said that the intent of the public meetings is, first, to solicit public input and to keep citizens aware of the city’s activities. Second, though, is to entertain the council members. When council members get bored, they stop coming to the meetings, make derogatory remarks about the citizens on social media, or make bad decisions just to see if anyone is paying attention. For example, in November, they voted to require all squirrels in Ottoman Park to have proper winter attire. Few citizens noticed, but the new law has kept police officers busy on patrol, thus increasing delays in responding to actual emergencies.

To reverse the attendance decline and keep themselves entertained, council members voted to enliven future meetings with an “open mic” format. Citizens are encouraged to attend and sign up for up to five minutes to perform a musical number, tell jokes, read poetry, bang pots or simply reminisce about their childhoods. Mood lighting and a stage will be available.

“Everyone is welcome. You do not have to speak on current topics or even council business,” stated the city spokesman. He said that limiting the topics would discourage people from attending, and political talk may be boring and even make council members despondent. He added that citizens who want to work "blue" should wait until after seven p.m., when al youth must be at home.

Council members are excited by the change. Said Mr. Shanks, “We have some very funny people in this community. I’m hoping to hear some good jokes this week. Open Mics are always fun. What could go wrong?”

The city spokeman said that if the “open mic” format is successful and council meetings become more fun, members may consider making one session a month a “Roast,” during which citizens can make good-natured jokes at the expense of the council members.

“I’m sure I’ll get it about my weight issues,” said Mr. Shanks. “In good fun, though, in good fun.”

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Last Updated on Sunday, 01 December 2013 14:36

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