The harsh tone and aggressive body language of several elected officials was justifiably called out by members of the public during a recent borough assembly meeting. Rather than reflect on their behavior, they doubled down and attacked the messengers. Accusatory, defensive responses from elected officials deflect attention from important issues, stifles honest inquiries, and often seem to be a reflection of their own behavior.   

Until recently, Haines’ public meetings were video-recorded by a community member and available for public viewing. That practice should be restarted as a responsibility of the borough. The public has a right, and a need, to see what occurs during public meetings. The borough’s current practice of documenting only “action minutes” does not convey sufficient context or detail. Voice recordings fail to capture body language, an important component of communication.  

  Posting unedited video recordings of public meetings on the borough website would be easy and it would provide valuable information for the public. Additionally, it would allow our representatives to see themselves in action. They might be very surprised to witness their own body language while hearing their spoken words. Perhaps they would better understand why so many people in the borough are reluctant to speak in public or participate in the governance of our community.

Brenda Josephson