The Ocean Pines Association town meeting tonight (Thursday) is an excellent idea … going into the session. Whether it will be perceived that way after it takes place remains an unknown.
The success of this gathering will depend on how the audience responds to the opportunity to communicate directly with the board of directors and the administration.
As there is no such thing as universal admiration for any governing body or official, it’s a certainly that some audience members will pose awkward questions, air complaints vigorously and criticize strenuously. That’s just human nature.
To some, however, there’s nothing more enjoyable than trying to disparage that which appears to be successful just for the sake of knocking it down a level or two in the public’s eyes.
That’s the kind of thing that could result in placing this town meeting on the endangered species list, even though the willingness of officials to face the public without the protections of regular meeting rules and procedures is admirable and should be encouraged. That’s participatory democracy at its best, in principle, and we hope it is in practice as well.
It should be disclosed that one of the discussion’s moderators will be Elaine Brady, who is employed by this paper, but will be acting in her capacity as a member of the Communications Committee. We encourage audience members to be civil and as courteous as possible with the moderators not because of this affiliation, but because it’s the right thing to do … assuming that the public would like to see it done again.
Here’s hoping that all goes well and that this is just the first installment of a series of similar sessions to be held throughout the year.