The Life of Riley: Meetings

I attend as many public meetings as I can, as well as some civic meetings, mainly because this is the best way to know what is really going on. Many of the same type events occur at meeting, regardless of what level of government.

Acronyms are among them.

Elected, or appointed, employees seem to love using acronyms instead of the actual name of a commission, committee or other form of government. I don’t know if this is to shorten their presentation (unlikely) or to show off their versatility of using the acronyms. The one thing it usually does is to keep the actual name of the group being discussed from the spectators attending the public meeting and, what a revoltin’ development this is! Maybe, the speaker could use the full name before referring to it by the acronym.

A standard catch phrase is “To make a long story short.” In my experience, by the time the speaker has uttered these words — it’s too late!

At some meetings, I’ve seen members sending text messages or taking their concentration away from the meeting, to check to see if they have any messages. I Always have to wonder if it has anything to do with their obligation, or have the elected obligations just become boring?

Another thing I’ve observed at some public meetings, is that some of our elected representivies seem to enjoy the sound of their own voice and will ramble on, sometimes after they’ve made their point. Other times, there seems to be no point.

Rambling is not a word I chose by accident. Often times when a speaker starts to get off their subject and just ramble on, an attentive spectator may be able to learn more, because the official strayed from their intended thoughts.

Oh, sometimes elected representatives encourage people to observe meetings, but they soon learn that that they are not acting in a vacuum, that ordinary, and usually knowledgeable, taxpayers are watching them.

Jerry Riley comments for the News Bulletin. He is a retired telecommunications supervisor.