The meaning of a dedicated 'regular:' Few residents make it a point to attend local government meetings

Norm Goldman of Clifton Park said he has been attending town board meetings since the 1980s. He said he has regularly voiced his concerns, and feels he has made a difference.

"Years ago, there were issues over the development of Route 146, that is when I started attending. After that I continued to stay on top of local government, and I am often given a lot of positive feedback," said Goldman.

Goldman said residents and taxpayers need to realize when they get involved they truly can have an impact on local government.

Like Jasinski, Goldman said he worries about the lack of attendance, especially among the younger generation.

"I hear young people say they do not have the time to attend meetings, and that is when I remind them they can always take advantage of local television stations that broadcast meetings," said Goldman.

It is not uncommon for "regulars" at town meetings to run for office.

In Scotia, Jerry Moore has been attending board of education meetings since 1999. He has run for the board in previous years, including just last year. He often takes the floor during the meetings to voice his opinions regarding the Scotia-Glenville Central School District.

"I began attending school board meetings because system and staff concerns almost always trumped the concerns of parents and the community. That has changed throughout the entire organization, and board members are now far more willing not just to consider, but also to use the concerns of others in making their decisions," said Moore.

Moore said he feels residents are missing their ability to make positive change. He feels the dynamics with local government have changed for the better and is now more about open communication.

"It takes more time and effort (to attend), but it generates the kind of good will that saves time and avoids conflict in the future. There is more of a can-do attitude. 'Customer satisfaction' has greater weight today," said Moore.

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