Town of Amherst and Amherst Media Differ on the Path Forward for Public Access

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.

We are seeking a 30-day postponement of the date by which the Town intends to post its Request for Proposal (RFP), slated for February 28. It is our contention that, given our exemplary service of over 40 years to the Town, that the Select Board allow the Amherst Media Board and its counsel this reasonable extension of time to:

  1. scrutinize the advantages and disadvantages of extending the current contract in light of the impending RFP,
  2. understand how the RFP process impacts the long term viability of Amherst Media, and
  3. research the question of whether the Town is, as the Town Manager believes, obligated to put PEG services through the public bidding process or if other avenues exist.

THIS ASK FOR DECENT CONSIDERATION AND UNDERSTANDING WAS DENIED. WE ARE CURRENTLY NOT ON THE POSTED AGENDA!!

We believe that once the RFP is posted, the opportunity for the Town to enter into a new 10-year contract with Amherst Media may be lost, so this is an urgent request that cannot be delayed to a future meeting.

Please join us in our advocacy and ask the Amherst Select Board to work with Amherst Media or attend the Monday, February 27, 6:30 PM Town Hall meeting. Help keep Independent Media alive in Amherst!

Groups audience: 

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.