Pearls of wisdom from the city manager soon to be heard by all – new microphones going in at city hall.

By Pepper Parr

February 5, 2014


Sometime before the snow is all gone – you will be able to hear the dulcet tones of the city manager when he speaks at city council meetings.

City manager Jeff Fielding has a very light voice – he tends not to raise that voice but he can should he choose to do so.

But when he is in the Council Chamber he can’t be heard because the microphones are absolutely terrible.  Old fashioned megaphones would be better.

Council members struggle with the on/off button on the units in front of them and all too frequently staff members have to pass a microphone to the person beside them to get one that works.

It has been an embarrassment for more than two years and has made Burlington look like some hick town in southern Arkansas.

Those days have come to an end.  The city has put a sumo of $30,000 in the capital budget that will cover the cost of new, much more efficient equipment.

From time to time there are inexperienced staff at the Clerk’s desk and they forget to flick the switch that will “light” the microphone used by speakers at the podium.

If the company that is brought in to do the job gets it right they will have microphones that work for shorter people and well as for taller people.  We have watched from the media table as short people stand on their toes to reach the microphone.

Town Crier David Vollick reading the message from Gazette publisher Pepper Parr at Council in December of 2011.

Back in December of 2011 I was unable to attend a Council meeting and sent the Town Crier, David Vollick to speak on my behalf  Dave read from a script we had prepared together.

It went over well – Council members were laughing in their seats as Vollick read aloud.  Here is what he had to say:

Oyez Oyez Oyez

Your Worship Mayor Goldring, gentle lady and gentlemen of the council, members of the public gallery, I appear before you tonight at the request of, and on behalf of, that epitome of Burlington’s political reporting and punditry – Mr. Pepper Parr.

To his despair he finds that he is unable, not only to attend, to but to document, and disseminate the momentous deliberations and decisions of this the penultimate council meeting of the year of our Lord two thousand, ought ,and eleven.

He bids you to persevere in his absence, and to carry on as sagely, judiciously, and with all due prudence, albeit with the caution that he has come to expect of this august body.

Why you may ask has Mr. Parr sent a young stripling in his stead, and an answer you shall receive.

This very night, yea, in not so many hours hence Mr. Parr, in the precinct of Aldershot in that bastion British values in Burlington, will pledge his troth to his beloved Pia. Yes indeed he has chosen to splice his life line, join in nuptial bliss, to become as one, to slip on that golden ring, in short to join the ranks of married men.

So while it is with regret that he cannot be with you tonight; let it be known to one all  that he is in the throes of rejoicing, rapture, possibly stupefaction, bliss, and / or terror as befits a gentleman of mature years, as he is about to embark on the good ship “Married Life”

To one and all who inhabit this hall he sends his true best wishes, but don’t despair he will be here as 2012 commences.

The applause was real enough – but – No audio; a great moment lost.

As funny as it was the recorded voice is forever lost – the microphone didn’t work that night.

It will be working properly before the snow is gone.  Perhaps we will ask Town Crier Vollick to pronounce on our behalf again.  Wonder what we can ask him to say then?

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