After HCTV Fight, Council Seeks Reinstatement of Cable TV Board

The matter of city representation on the Haverhill Community Television (HCTV) board of directors may not be closed yet.

The Haverhill city council is asking Mayor James J. Fiorentini to regroup the city’s Cable Advisory Committee.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, councilors approved an amendment from Councilor Melinda Barrett to a motion placing on file the details of the revised HCTV bylaws, discussed at the April 22 Administration and Finance committee meeting.

Barrett said while the reinstatement of city representatives may have cleared up the matter, the city must “start thinking of what’s to come” with the next cable contract.

“The contract isn’t up for a number of years but it’s no time like the present to start thinking about what’s to come and how we will proceed. You know, technology’s changing all the time. We might as well have a group installed and ready to act,” Barrett said. The city is solely responsible for determining how $1 million in Comcast fees are distributed. Privately, one councilor said he will urge the mayor's office to write tighter guidelines in the next Comcast contract or revoke HCTV's allocation entirely.

Appointments by the outside groups, however, is still subject to approval by HCTV, according to the revised bylaws.

City Councilor Colin F. LePage, chairman of Administration and Finance Committee.

City Councilor Colin F. LePage, chairman of Administration and Finance Committee.

Councilor Colin LePage, Administration and Finance committee chairman, said details remain to be worked out with HCTV over qualifying criteria for the city’s board nominees.

“Representatives of the board of directors also informed that the eligibility and approval criteria… used by the nominating committee in determining the suitability of the four representative director recommendation set aside seats has not yet been finalized. With the reinstatement of city representatives to the HC Media board of directors, a motion was made and passed to consider the matter closed,” LePage said.

The HCTV bylaws, most recently revised last month, expands the panel from 9 to 13 members, four of whom are city representatives appointed by the mayor, the superintendent of schools, the public library director and the president of Northern Essex Community College.

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