Amherst Cable Contract Forum: The Advantages of Direct Funding

Amherst Cable Contract Forum: The Advantages of Direct Funding

Description: 

Filmed on March 7, 2017, this is one part of a three-part forum on the current situation in Amherst, MA, as they proceed with a new contract or RFP for public access services.

For more information, go to amherstmedia.org/contract.

Production Date: 
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Amherst Media Contract

Amherst Media, the oldest non-profit media access center in the country, is facing the potential loss of its independence by the Town of Amherst.  After 41 years of service and collaboration between the organization and the Town, the Town is determined to change the longstanding relationship.  

Amherst Media has been without a contract since October of 2016, when the Town signed a new 10 year contract renewal with cable giant Comcast. Throughout this nearly four-month period, Amherst Media has continued to cover all of their obligated recordings as outlined in their lapsed contract.  The organization continued to request an opportunity to speak before the Select Board, only to be denied.  They resorted to using the public comment portion of the Select Board meeting to speak to the Town officials and the public at large. 

We encourage the residents of Amherst to email the Town Manager and the Select Board members and demand that they enter immediately into good faith negotiations with Amherst Media.

Jim Lescault, Executive Director, Amherst Media

News

Mar 22, 2017

Amherst Media is elated to announce that Amherst’s Town Manager and Select Board have reversed their decision to post a Request for Proposal (RFP) and instead is heeding the recent findings from the MA Inspector General’s Office and Department of Revenue.

This excerpt from the Town Manger’s report to the Select Board on Monday, March 20, stated the following:

What does this mean? In short, we are moving back to the way we have accounted for funds and contracted for services as we have in the past.

Next Steps: 

Mar 16, 2017

At the Monday, March 13, 2017 Select Board meeting, Jim Lescault, Executive Director of Amherst Media, spoke during public comment, presenting to the Select Board a very real alternative to the path of Request for Proposal the Town was on.  The Office of Inspector General had written their opinion regarding PEG services and 30B procurement totally redefining how the Town of Amherst’s government had interpreted the regulations.

Mar 6, 2017

There unfortunately continues to be many unanswered questions circulating around the Amherst community regarding the recent decision by the Town Manager and Select Board regarding the proposed changes in how the Town contracts Amherst Media for the Cable Access Public, Education & Government (PEG) services.

While the Town will be providing an on-line opportunity for the community to give input to the RFP, we feel there exists a real need for a community dialogue on such a monumental change in policy.

Feb 24, 2017

In an age of mass media consolidation, access to public information to insure government transparency is more vital than ever. Amherst Media, one of the oldest community access centers in the country providing that kind of transparency to its community, is in a contract dispute with the Town of Amherst. And as with many other such centers across the country over the last ten years, its future is far from certain.

Feb 24, 2017

Dear Friends of Amherst Media,

Our contract saga continues, but now, with legal counsel, we are ready to mount an exertive effort to bring the Town and Amherst Media to the table for negotiations.

A letter was submitted to the Select Board requesting that Amherst Media be placed on the Feb. 27 evening’s agenda. The letter stated that Amherst Media had obtained legal counsel as of February 20 and that our counsel would like to discuss the Town Manager’s February 3 offer to extend Amherst Media’s expired contract through June 30, 2017.