Open Local Council (LC) meetings have been largely inaccessible to our wider membership, and because of the amount of business we have to get through, we rarely have time to hear from all assembled members (and often can only hear a few comments from LC members, for that matter). We've heard from members that the experience of participating in LC meetings in this format is frustrating, as the format and time constraints don't allow for workshopping ideas or having in-depth, back-and-forth conversations. Moreover, the number of members that attend LC meetings is generally quite small (between 3 and 15), and therefore cannot faithfully or democratically represent the sentiments of our more-than-900 strong general membership as a whole. Because the format isn't intended for deep discussion, and so few people are able to weigh in, we realized we needed a better way to discuss upcoming proposals with interested comrades.
We're hoping that the office hours will provide a more congenial and productive atmosphere for members to share thoughts and feedback about proposals up for consideration. These conversations will have a deeper impact on LC decisions, since many LC members already spend the week between the finalization of the agenda and the meeting itself conversing with chapter comrades about the proposals up for consideration. Combined with a digital feedback mechanism for those who can't attend the happy hour, we're confident this new program will encourage more participation by a wider cross-section of members and will give LC members a more accurate sense of their comrades' sentiments about proposals.
We will also move toward a mechanism for posting draft meeting minutes and vote results more quickly after the meeting.