Minutes, Monday, October 5, 2009

Minutes, Monday, October 5, 2009

Postby Cable Committee » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:47 pm


Meeting Minutes

Monday October 5, 2009 – Douglas Municipal Center

Prepared by Pat Aldrich

Members Present: Mitch Cohen, Michelle Fontaine, Fred Fontaine, Rich Preston, Bob Werme
Staff Present: Pat Aldrich.

Meeting Opened by Mitch Cohen @ 7:08pm

1.) Minutes: 8/24/09 – Rich motioned to accept as presented, Michelle 2nd, unanimous favor. Mitch asked if Pat would write up the minutes from their Sept. 14th meeting from the video.
Correspondence: Mitch spoke to Eben Cheseborough, who has officially resigned from the Cable Advisory Committee. Mitch expressed appreciation for Eben’s 3 years plus of service to the Committee, and his help on multiple issues, including policy writing. This opens an official vacancy for the Cable Committee.
Personnel Board issues with not wanting to be taped: No actual correspondence on this, to review, they had met and asked not to be taped by Cable, but upon further questioning, there was no solid reason for the request. After a discussion with Mitch in which he invited them to meet with the Advisory Committee, the Board met and decided to withdraw their request, which Mitch has asked for an email or letter of confirmation to this effect to clearly close the matter from the Cable Advisory standpoint. Mitch will send a note to the Board of Selectmen to let them know that this withdrawal has been vocalized, but not yet officiated in writing. Rich mentioned that the Personnel Board’s possible Executive Session (which we would not tape) issues could use some consideration and investigation into what is and is not Executive Session. He noted that the Board should sit with the Executive Administrator to address any such concerns as it would be the proper protocol for this avenue. Mitch said he would send an email to the chair addressing this as discussed. A clear point was made by the Cable Advisory Committee that we do not tape Executive Session, so individual committees and boards need to understand for their own purpose what does or does not fall into that category.
2.) Finance: Sept: Wages – $952.50, Office Supplies – $522.39, Equipment – $806.87 with a total September: $2,281.76. Year to date: $4,400.00 budget is roughly $40,000 so remainder is on track for fiscal year.
Mitch also noted that he and Pat had met with Jeanne Lovett about the paperwork on Payroll and expense vouchers, which Pat is to be taking over. Payroll and Vouchers will still go through Mitch and Committee to formalize. She gave them a very detailed explanation with samples and digital files to help introduce Pat to the proper formats and protocols of the file creating and record keeping. Mitch also noted that we should go back in the meeting minutes to look at the budget breakdown and begin a spreadsheet or something to that effect that tracks the monthly expenditures against our projected set-aside. We would also need to obtain an up to date balance on our Capital Account so we can look at our long and short term plans. Also, a possible re-classification of expenditures in accordance with some information obtained in the meeting with Jeanne.
3.) Cable Coordinator’s Report: Pat reported that the engraver we’d purchased has been used to permanently mark some of the more expensive items like cameras and so forth and is working well. The Level 1 video class was not filled, as it was expected to begin this week, but there was one interested sign up. Some discussion was had on how to promote the class better, starting with better lead time to get an ad into local papers. Eben’s documentary about Douglas Cemeteries will be airing and Michelle’s suggested show about the Arts will also be airing on channel 11 as we try to expand programming on that channel. Pat noted that he had planned on trying to create a production out of the taping of Octoberfest but was unfortunately rained out. He mentioned that next year he would like to have a more cohesive plan for creating a program including volunteers for filming and working tightly alongside the Octoberfest Committee as the date approaches. Michelle noted that there is a possible production in town at the Jenckes store’s farmer’s market in the up coming weeks. Pat brought up the matter of the filing cabinet that we’d discussed in prior meetings, not sure how to proceed in actually obtaining one. Mitch said to email Suzanne Kane and get info from her, as she does much of the office ordering for the town and would have a good source. Pat mentioned the upper back corner of the ceiling in the Cable Office and how it appears to be getting worse. After speaking to Daniel Harlow (the former Coordinator) about this matter and the fact that Daniel had brought this matter up before, Pat decided it was time to try to get something done about it, as our equipment is getting nicer and more expensive and there is now the nicest computer in that corner that is getting rained on by paint chips and dust from the crackling paint and crumbling wall area effected by what seems to be old water damage. Mitch said that we should send a memo to the Physical Plant or possibly obtain an estimate to take care of the matter ourselves. Pat went on to expand on improving the office by actually getting some ventilation in the room. Currently, there is a hole above the door with a tube that looks like ventilation but is not actually hooked into the building’s system. This means that the office is freezing cold in the winter and hot and sticky in the summer. This past summer, Pat had noticed increasing problems with the main computer stations and had multiple issues with day to day operations because of it, which seemed like possibly a result of the sauna-like atmosphere of the room. As we increase the amount of equipment, as well as upgrade the actual quality, we should be looking to keep a more controlled environment. This was definitely agreed by everyone and we would need to formulate a way to rectify the situation. Mitch brought up a previous idea of expanding the cable office a few feet into the resource room and creating a front office and a back office, but we would need to begin at square one for that with a new estimate. Mitch asked if we should include this as an item on the next agenda to have a professional estimate of this build out. Michelle asked if that part of the Resource room is used. Mitch said that although that part of the room is currently used for storage. The Committee was ok with getting an estimate. Mitch mentioned that the reason we are putting away money is to eventually build a real studio, but that has yet to materialize. Michelle mentioned that we should keep in mind the Level 1 video class alumni party.
4.) Public Access Additional Programming Outreach: Rich drafted a Memo detailing our initiative in an effort to coordinate an outreach program with local entities where content may already exist. The memo is a jumping off point to start detailing our policy and finally, write a letter that we will use to contact such entities. Rich read the Memo verbatim and the actual Memo will be available.
Discussion/input: Mitch mentioned that we should exclude “for profit” programming with a clear cut definition of “commercial” promotional content. Bob noted that we could refer to the PBS guidelines on this matter. But the main idea is that we should probably discuss whether or not we should only include companies that have been officiated as non-profit. Michelle asked for examples of an entity that would not be non-profit but may fit into this category. Sports fundraisers, library book clubs. Mitch said we should refer to the Cable Policies and all programming should remain within those guidelines in accordance to Charter License and Federal Law. Discussion on whether or not the entity must be a 501-C3 Not for profit by law or just not a profitable organization. Michelle brought up that there is not a very clear definition of “commercial” in the current policy. Pat mentioned that it would be helpful to him as well to have a clear cut policy and definition. Mitch said rule of thumb that he has heard, is “No call to action”. Michelle noted that there are tricky ways around this language, and Mitch said that there had been rejected programming in the past due to clear advertising. Michelle said that she intends to create programming involving multi-media workshops and would like to know the lines before submitting them to the PEG channel. Mitch mentioned that there is not really a great way to define it, and it usually goes town by town until there is an occasional lawsuit that helps cut the lines out a little more. Rich mentioned the idea of sponsorship, and Mitch talked about how much more effort in accounting and bookkeeping that would take for a volunteer committee. Most sponsorship entities are non-profit organizations. Fred asked if there may be for profit entities that may have valuable productions. Mitch said that they are not prohibited from producing and supplying content, but not through this particular program, under the current guidelines. Michelle mentioned sponsorship of events that come in as content, not sponsorship money to the Committee, but to the program. A general consensus was to wait until something of that nature may come up before drafting that into the current policy, focusing on not for-profit to begin with. Pat mentioned that perhaps we could create an application for meeting the criteria, and within that we could really define the parameters. Rich explained that we are trying to reach out to entities, but as it moves forward, there will be some sort of application. Michelle mentioned that she sees the current wording of the memo dictates that individual producers coming forward to create content would need to go through the video class, which is true, but Rich said that it’s possible for the Cable Coordinator to take into account someone’s personal skills and allow them to skip the class. Rich said that within the Memo we are clearly exempting organizations from taking the class. Mitch said we should add “all programming must adhere to all policies of the Cable Advisory Committee” to cover the grey areas being discussed. Mitch also noted that we should have a combination of equipment sign out sheet, plus program submittal form. A blanket agreement for entire sequence of content, as well as indemnifying the town of any and all responsibility. Rich said we should come up with a name for it – COMMUNITY PROGRAM INITIATIVE LONG TERM SIGN OUT FORM. Pat agreed that he could write it up when the policy and details are formulated. Pat asked if we should create a program enveloping all of the content, or are they separate productions. Mitch voiced that they should be independent of each other. Michelle asked if the programming has a solid schedule, or is it random. Pat answered that if requested, he will program at desired times. Rich noted to Pat that he also sees that the shows coming from the initiative should be their own entities, especially considering church services and other programs of that nature. He also mentioned that when we set up the parameters of production, we have simple guidelines to keep things easy for Pat in post-production, although they would be able to create more complex content on their own. Pat mentioned that he has no problem with helping with the production and is not concerned with additional workload in response to this initiative. Michelle asked if we would keep time limits on the spots, but Mitch noted that that would be a strain on production – but in the future we may need to think about that, if the initiative goes successfully. Pat noted that we have a sign up area for the level one video course, could we set up a form for applicants? Mitch agreed, but felt that initially we are going to be contacting entities with a letter and such, but perhaps if it becomes a larger program we can look at those methods. Fred opened discussion about the wording “including attendance in video class” being redundant, as we already refer to that in our general policy. Rich noted that the equipment provided is left up to us upon individual need of the project. Pat asked where the equipment responsibility and maintenance lays, as far as missing or broken equipment? Mitch and Rich agreed that we just keep it as is, where the DCAC retains ownership and we hope that nothing happens, but normal wear and tear does occur from time to time. Mitch noted that if there was some abuse, we would ask nicely that they cover it. Next steps: Create a letter to outline our intent and the program to send to targeted entities – which Rich agreed to write. A policy needs to be drafted outlining the details – which Mitch agreed to write. A form needs to be drafted for equipment sign out/content submission – which Pat agreed to create. He also mentioned that we could look into possible programs out of the Elementary school?
5.) Equipment Purchase: New DVD-R working well, should we pick up another to replace the Community Room preemptively? Pat agreed that the process works well, and the machine we use is perfect for our process, plus there are committees that record their own meetings and are used to the operations of that as well. Mitch mentioned that there was feedback from Steve Zisk from Conservation and Planning Board about the mechanical switcher in the Community room, where it interferes with DVD-R operations, but possibly the replacement of the DVD-R could help. Fred said that he could get a price for a replacement on that switcher with 3 inputs, two cameras and computer input. Also, the TV in that room does not have a computer input, which the committees use quite a bit, should we think about replacing that for them? Mitch mentioned that the TV is roughly 10 years old and a new TV would possibly open up the room. Fred is going to get the quote on parts and numbers for that. New DVD-R deck approval: up to $500.00 – Fred motioned, 2nd by Rich with unanimous favor.
6.) Missing Members: Mitch is still trying to get a resolution with Carole Field, and wants to get a full board going.
7.) Next Meeting: October 26, 2009.
8.) Other Business: Michelle asked when the next level 1 video class would happen, Pat mentioned that there are not enough sign ups to currently run the class, but if postponed, will be announced in the future. Michelle mentioned her production is going to be uploaded to PEG media and can be downloaded. Mitch mentioned that we should advertise the next class in the local papers. Michelle brought up the video class alumni reunion party, we decided to put it off to next meeting, which Michelle agreed to come up with some ideas on how to run this.
9.) Adjourn: Rich made motion to adjourn, Fred 2nd, unanimous favor at 8:21 pm.
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