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Audit committee eyes small screen

Meetings that discuss city operations should be publicly televised, officials say.

January 23, 2012|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

Under the banner of greater transparency, the committee that oversees audits of city operations has recommended that its meetings be televised.

“We’re moving into a society where people want to see information. They want an open government,” said Audit Committee Chairman Louie Sadd during a meeting on Monday.

Most commission meetings at City Hall — excluding some that deal with personnel issues — are taped and aired on Glendale’s government access television channel and archived on the city’s website. So far, the Audit Committee, which typically issues critiques or recommendations on how to improve internal operations, hasn’t made it onto the TV schedule.

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About a decade ago, the committee had weighed the spotlight, but opted to not get the cameras rolling. At the time, city officials thought televising audit meetings could curb candor from city employees, said City Auditor Michelle Flynn.

Commissioner Rebecca Delfino said she had similar concerns, but also understood the importance of transparency.

“Our role is very different than the other committees in the city,” Delfino said. “To me, it’s a complicated issue.”

Most commissioners at the meeting said they weren’t concerned about televised meetings affecting staff candor.

“The idea that people can’t be as candid because they’re being televised is just, on its face, rather ridiculous,” Commissioner Zareh Amirian said. “It’s just time the committee joins the 21st century.”

Audit Committee meetings are held six times a year at 8 a.m. on Mondays, mostly to an empty audience. The meetings are recorded, but the tapes are typically destroyed after the published minutes are completed, said Senior Assistant City Atty. Lucy Varpetian.

Those minutes are then available online.

The City Council still must approve of the Audit Committee’s recommendation before the meetings premiere on the small screen.

 
 

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