Today, at 9.30am in Committee Room 2, Shire Hall, Warwick, there were twenty three people in the room. That included Councillors, WCC staff, one person from Dunchurch Community Group, but NO members of the public. My guess, holding a meeting like this on a Monday morning is a great time to get a zero turnout.
It was about taking an in depth look into the WCC Libraries Report: jobs, closures and decisions. This will have a bearing on what is voted upon on Thursday 14 July 2011 in three days time. I've spent the last few days ploughing through all 326 pages (sure you've seen Parts 01-5).
Meeting started with the odd words about who hadn't read the report at all, those who had read bits and then another who claimed you only need read 35 pages and disregard the rest.
At this point, I'll tell you again, these are my thoughts as an observer in the room. I'm not referencing each Councillor on a who said what and when. That's what I did last time on 4 March 2011 - many people seemed to like that.
It seems proper reporters do that, and as I keep getting reminded at Shire Hall - I am a member of the public. This is now a standing joke with some other media types I know (you know who you are). If I was honest, I expected at least some press types at the meeting today. I hope this isn't what will happen on Thursday.
Then again, after asking too many questions about democracy and how we spread the word, I arrived to find a sign waiting for me, PUBLIC NOTICE: ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF THE REGULATORY COMMITTEE IS NOT PERMITTED. So, I've been told. The message I've just had back from WCC is all to do with due process and voting. There was another reason, but as hard as I try it escapes me. I thought Eric Pickles wants the public in meetings like this with a camcorder strapped to their wrist. He does - Warwickshire doesn't.
Part 02 to follow very soon.