One Technology Fail: Tulsa Council meeting postponed for electronic bulletin board failure

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Under Oklahoma's Open Meetings Act, public bodies like cities are required to post agendas for upcoming meetings, so that citizens will know what issues may be discussed and what action may be taken. At the old Tulsa City Hall, this was accomplished by means of a cork bulletin board, inside a glass case near the walkway between City Hall and the council chamber. You could drive by any hour of the day or night and see the agenda for the City Council, the housing authority, the sign advisory board, and any other authority, board, commission, or task force.

At Tulsa's new City Hall, One Technology Center, the old school cork board has been replaced with a high-tech electronic display. Last week, that display failed to show the agenda for Thursday night's meeting when it failed to reboot automatically. As a result, the regular City Council meeting had to be postponed to last night, Monday.

The electronic system was touted as foolproof, over the objection of skeptics, like Council administrator Don Cannon:

Council Administrator Don Cannon said he's frustrated because he and others warned city officials that something like this could easily happen.

"We told them that a hard-copy backup was needed just in case," he said.

Cannon said he intends to post paper copies of the council's agendas by the television screens until some other backup system is developed. Monday's agendas were physically posted Thursday afternoon.

"The risk is just not worth it," he said. "There's a lot of things that are uncontrollable, but this is controllable."

City Councilor John Eagleton, the only councilor to vote against the City's acquisition of One Technology Center, had a brief comment about the situation: "I told you so."

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 11, 2010 1:12 PM.

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