Parish to North Tonawanda Common Council: “Put Your Phones Down”

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

City Clerk and Treasurer Matthew Parish is saying “put the cell phones away.”

During Council meetings and workshops, he says members of the North Tonawanda Common Council should not be on their cell phones.

“I don’t need my cell phone,” said Parish. “I can dedicate two hours of my time to focus on the task at hand. The one and only reason that I will use my cell phone is if I need to use it for a stop watch and that is it.”

Members of the Common Council are issued City I-Pads. For 2nd Ward Alderperson Donna Braun, banning cell phones is a good idea.

“Yes, I am on my I-Pad but I am following the agenda but if I am up here with my cell phone in my hand and I am looking and texting, I don’t think people in the audience would think that I am paying attention to what is being discussed,” said Braun.

With the exception of City Attorney Luke Brown using it for research, Parish says cell phones should be turned off or put away.

“I don’t see the necessity for it. I think that it is rude to be on your phone and not paying attention to what is going on during the meeting and having communication with others, when the real communication should be with members of the Council,” said Parish.

Beyond that some say those City issued I-Pads should be checked to make sure that they are not being used for personal use.

“I think they need to be checked too, because we are accountable to the City for those I-Pads. We need to make sure it is being taken care of properly and audited to make sure it being used for City use and not something else,” said Eric Zadzilka, Common Council President.

 

Aldernan-At-Large, Austin Tylec, fired back after believing new phone related policies are aimed at him.

 

Not everyone agrees with talk of banning cell phones. Alderman-At-Large Austin Tylec, however, believed that Parish’s no phone initiaitive was aimed at him.

“Matt why are you legislating when you are the City Clerk? Does it matter if I use a black pen or a red pen,” said Austin Tylec, Alderman-At-Large.

Nothing was decided on whether or not to ban cell phones but the discussion will likely continue.

“Matt is our Clerk/Treasurer he is here to help us,” said Braun, “and if he is making a request of our Common Council not to use our cell phones while we are in a meeting, I really don’t see that should be an issue. I am thinking of me sitting out there in the audience and if I see someone on the Council texting while I am talking, then I do think it is rude.”

 

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