Poor Quality Audio Causes Councilor to Change Vote

City Councilor Colin F. LePage.

City Councilor Colin F. LePage.

Council President John A. Michitson.

Council President John A. Michitson.

Poor audio quality is being blamed for causing reconsideration of the city council’s vote to approve Continental Wingate Development Company’s proposed 64-unit housing project off North Avenue.

At the end of the meeting, Council President John A. Michitson asked that Councilor Colin F. LePage, who participated remotely, be allowed to change his earlier vote on the council-amended special permit request from “yes” to “no.”

“One of the difficulties of calling in to meetings is that it’s not always easy to follow what’s going on and Councilor LePage would like an opportunity to change his vote on the Wingate proposal,” Michitson said.

The motion for reconsideration, made by Councilor William H. Ryan and seconded by Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, passed unanimously. The subsequent “final” vote on the amended special permit, motioned by Councilor William J. Macek and seconded by Ryan, was 8 to 1. LePage explained why he changed his vote.

“I wanted to vote in favor of the first amendment with $400,000, the second one with the signage, but then I didn’t realize that was the final vote on the project,” LePage said.

Last August, WHAV management recommended the Haverhill City Council purchase inexpensive telephone and audio equipment to comply with the state’s Open Meeting law, which requires sound remote participants’ voices to be clear and distinct. The equipment recommended by WHAV is said to be on order.

The council has been using an ordinary speakerphone during the times Councilors Michitson and LePage have participated remotely. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has set certain conditions on remote participation.

“Acceptable means of remote participation include telephone, internet or satellite-enabled audio or video conferencing, or any other technology that enables the remote participant and all persons present at the meeting location to be clearly audible to one another,” according to the attorney general’s office.

WHAV told councilors the equipment is industry-standard and has long been used by radio stations for talk show programs and news gathering.

The council meeting also marked the final regular meeting for outgoing councilors Ryan and Robert H. Scatamacchia.

One thought on “Poor Quality Audio Causes Councilor to Change Vote

  1. Did Ryan and Scratch get any luxurious parting gifts for their last meeting ? Maybe Ryan could have gotten a large crying towel. His luster seems to be lost. Scratch needs help. Hopefully he seeks it out and gets it.