Prof: Online Meeting On County Budget Is ‘Awkward’ Format
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will hold an online town hall meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss county business and the coming budget.
“Cook County residents deserve to know how and why their money is being spent and I’m looking forward to talking with folks about the budget process,” Preckwinkle said in a news release over the weekend. “It’s important to take advantage of whatever mediums exist to help bring more people to the table. I may not know a lot about Twitter, but I’m willing to learn if it will help better serve the people who elected me to this office.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports
As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, a political scientist and former alderman cautions that the meeting is only a supplement, and not a replacement, for face to face political debate.
University of Illinois at Chicago political science Chairman Dick Simpson notes the ideal of democracy is open debate or discussion.
“This is awkward as a format to do that, usually because they won’t give any one person unlimited time to do follow-up,” he said. “It’s not like a debate between candidates in a meeting either, because there’s no opposition. There’s no County Board member who might disagree, who’s having the floor as well as the County Board president.
Simpson stresses he is not slamming Preckwinkle for holding the internet town-hall meeting, just supplying perspective on the electronic conference set for Tuesday evening at 7:15 p.m.
Video of the meeting will be streaming live on the Web site for the 2012 county budget, where Cook County residents can watch and participate. Residents also had the opportunity until Monday to ask questions via the Web and Twitter.
Preckwinkle released a preliminary budget late last month. She is set to release her executive budget recommendation by Oct. 31.
State law requires the county to pass a balanced budget by the end of February each year.