No more City Council road trips

November 20, 2009
By

John Ruch

The Boston City Council’s groundbreaking move of holding its meetings in the neighborhoods instead of in City Hall, an experiment that began in Jamaica Plain, is over, council president Mike Ross told the Gazette last month.

Ross, who represents part of Hyde Square, intended the “City Council on the road” meetings to be more transparent than normal meetings, which are held at noon on Wednesdays in City Hall.

The first such neighborhood meeting was held in May at JP’s English High School, where Councilors Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon praised its openness and accessibility. The meeting included a “town hall” open forum for audience members. The meeting was poorly attended, apparently due to lack of publicity.

Despite the earlier praise for openness, Ross said the experiment was a failure, and the council will now only meet in City Hall. He said some councilors complained to him that the out-in-the-neighborhood meetings were too expensive and were not as accessible to citywide residents.

“Moving the council [meetings], I believe, is not efficient for democracy,” Ross said.

The council plans to hold one more neighborhood meeting, at the Boston Latin School in the Fenway/Longwood Medical and Academic Area, before ending the program, he said.