Foy’s Two Thorns?

With one stroke, the Mayor proposes to eliminate two committees whose roles have been controversial at times. Both committees are far from done with their tasks, so it’s hard to understand why Foy wants to kill them off.

Is it because they’re both pushing the envelope?

I sit on both committees, so, from the inside, I find it quite a strange idea that they’re done with their tasks.

Maybe it’s a measure of the Mayor’s inattention to these committee’s work. Hard to say, though I do look forward to his explanation on April 10th.

What are these committees actively doing?

The HWCC has constituted several sub-committees to review equity, environmental and transportation issues.

For instance, the environmental committee is working on a proposal requesting that UNC do a complete, scientific environmental baseline for HWA and its surrounds. We also are researching environmental metrics to apply. Once the baselines and metrics are established, the environmental effects of Carolina North, positive and negative, can be measured over the next 100 years. UNC has an unique opportunity to study “green technologies and techniques” and using the Carolina North project as a driver for research and development.

Without the HWCC, who will advocate for that grand vision on behalf of the citizenry?

As for the Technology committee, yes, municipal networking is moving forward but that’s just a small part of the technology portfolio. Our town is way behind the technology curve and town management, to date, has shown no real interest in moving us forward.

For instance, it was the committee that identified technology-related cost efficiencies and savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Besides that, the committee has discussed and proposed a number of enhancements in: open document standards, open access to governmental data, open infrastructure, accessibility, bi-directional citizen communications, self-service operations, etc.

A number of these proposals have been approved by Council but their implementation lags.

And, to be fairly blunt, whether from disinterest in the subject, lack of time or inability, most of the Council has paid little attention to understanding and utilizing common-place technologies to drive costs out of service delivery, enhance citizen participation in governance, create transparency and generally improve the overall performance of government.

Without the Technology Committee, who will suggest and advocate for these technology-related improvements?

TO: Town Council

FROM: Kevin Foy, Mayor

SUBJECT: Conclusion of Service: Horace Williams Citizens Committee and Technology Committee

DATE: April 10, 2006

The Horace Williams Citizens Committee was established in October 2002 to assist the Council in preparing for deliberations with the University of North Carolina regarding the development of the Horace Williams property.”

The Technology Committee was formed in 1998 and charged with advising the Council on the formation of a technology plan, including the formation of a town-wide network.

Both Committees have benefited from the work of dozens of citizens, council members, and town staff, and have put countless hours into their work. The Horace Williams Citizens Committee Report and the recent presentation on Wireless Internet from the Technology Committee are evidence of the time and effort involved.

Having completed their missions, I petition the Council that we thank all existing and former committee members for their dedication and public service, and that we now conclude the service of the Technology and Horace Williams Citizens Committees, effective June 30, 2006.


If you’re interested in the effective use of technology to enhance our local governance or in retaining a strong, local and non-political voice in the Carolina North mega-development, I suggest you contact the Mayor and Council by April 10th – ask them to keep these citizen voices active.



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2 responses to “Foy’s Two Thorns?”

  1. Chapel Hill may disband two boards…

    I was pretty shocked to read today that Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy has written a memo to the Town Council proposing that they should end the Horace Williams Citizen’s Committee. Just a few months ago, I helped to draft a plan for how the HWCC w…

  2. Jason Baker Avatar

    Hey Will,

    I sent a letter to the mayor in regards to this a little while ago. Seems a bit silly to do away with the two boards that deal with some of the biggest issues Chapel Hill is currently facing, but maybe that’s just me.

    Anyway, I presume I’ll see you Monday at the Council meeting. 🙂

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