Friday, July 18, 2008

Understanding Recent Developments With PAC 14

At last Monday night’s city council meeting, PAC14 Station Manager Mike Goodson came before council with a request for a letter of support to ask Comcast to add 85 cents to the cable subscriber fee. The purpose of the fee would be to generate almost $2 million over the next 8 years to fund a new facility for PAC14, which would include a community media center.

We had questions about a task force that was formed to spearhead this effort. PAC14 already has a duly appointed board with representatives from the city, county, and Salisbury University. (Editor’s Note: Debbie Campbell is the liaison from the Salisbury City Council.)

One question was, why was none of this brought through the duly appointed board? Why hasn’t that board been convened in a year-and-a-half? Another was, why was no one involved willing to disclose the names of the task force members or the task force’s meeting schedule?

We want to note that we are big supporters of PAC14 and its great value to our community. (Editor’s Note: Both Debbie Campbell and Terry Cohen went through training with PAC14 long before their elections. Debbie has encouraged many others to get the training, and Terry Cohen helped film the Jaycees’ celebration of Salisbury 275th Anniversary.)

We also want to emphasize that our questions are not intended to reflect negatively in any way on any member of the task force willing to give their time to support this important community asset. The question about who is on the task force has been answered by the administration. At the end of this post is a list of the members with a brief description (we assume written by the administration) after each name.

For us, the issues of appropriate process and transparency are important when dealing with both a publicly funded public asset such as PAC14 and consideration of any kind of rate increase to citizens. Maryland’s Task Force to Study the Effects of Cult Activities on Public Senior Higher Education Institutions is a good example of a task force formed through an open process and operating with a focus on transparency. That body complies with the Open Meetings Act even if not necessary and provides public input time at its meetings.

Also, the question regarding whether the city has honored its financial obligations in its payments to PAC14 in full accordance with the calculations articulated in the code remains unanswered.

As additional information becomes available, we will share it here. As soon as possible, we will post a download link to the audio of the July 14 council meeting so you can hear the discussion first hand. Per mention above, this is the list of Task Force members:

1. Phil Tilghman, former County Council Pres, long time PAC 14 show host of "One On One"
2. Charles ‘Chip’ Dashiell, Attorney at Law, former County Council member
3. Dr Nevins Todd
4. Bruce Patterson, Penn. Regional Med Cntr., chairman school building commission
5. Ed Kremer, retired Airport Commission President
6. Richard Holloway, local businessman (formerly with Chamber of Commerce)
7. Faye Wilson, Dr., Wico. Board of Ed Coord. of Communications & Parent/Community outreach, long-time local producer of BOE award winning show on PAC 14, "Working Together for Children"
8. Mike Scott, Dr., Prof Geosciences SU / DDHT (PAC 14's Digitizing Delmarva Heritage & Traditions)
9. Michael Pretl, Attorney at Law, associated with numerous health care orgs / and environmental orgs
10. Jim Rapp, former Sal Zoo Director / DELITE NP org
11. Gee Williams, Dir of Marketing Comm. Foundation of Eastern Shore
12. Sue Revelle, "Women Supporting Women", breast cancer org / PAC 14 program of same name
13. Thomas Robinson, Christ United Methodist Church, longest running local Access producers
14. Henrietta Parker, Wico Mentoring
15. Kevin Byrd, P.O. Box 2163, Salisbury, MD 21801
16. Eleanor Mulligan, 229 Canal Park Dr., Salisbury, MD
17. Mary DiBartolo, Department of Nursing, SU
18. Marion Keenan, President, Coastal Hospice.