Buffalo Grove puts committee of the whole meetings on TV

Updated 10/4/2019 5:32 PM

Viewers watching video of the Buffalo Grove village board proceedings see trustees vote on matters that are fruit of weeks and sometimes months of discussions. Often, the ordinances receive no comment, but are merely passed en masse as part of the consent agenda.

That is because they have been thoroughly hashed out during the informal committee of the whole sessions, which are not televised but which often produce lengthy and sometimes heated discussions.


Now, residents will get a chance to see how the sausage is made from their living rooms or on their smartphones. A committee of the whole meeting will be televised for the first time at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

"At the last COW meeting, I brought up that I wanted it televised," village President Beverly Sussman said.

Generally, trustees and staff sit around a table in the middle of the room at committee of the whole meetings, but this time, trustees will take their accustomed spots on the dais to accommodate sound and video equipment.

Sussman said the meeting will indicate whether the informal feel of the committee of the whole can be maintained when it moves to the dais and whether there's a need to buy additional equipment.

Televising the committee of the whole will fulfill a wish she had expressed as a trustee. "The board at the time really didn't agree, because they liked that informal feeling."

One of the distinctive elements of the COW meetings is the presentation of issues by village department heads, bringing a wealth of information about the inner workings of the village. Another aspect is the sometimes freewheeling banter among trustees and staff.

"I just feel that residents should always know what's going on," Sussman said. "Most people do not attend COW meetings, so they really don't listen to all of those conservations we have. A lot of those conversations determine what is going to be on the village board agenda of a regular village board meeting."

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