A Salute To George Kirkland


When Mayor Dave Schmidt took office in May 2009, one of the first things he did was buy a camera so that City Council meetings could be videotaped and posted on-line for viewing by the public – to supplement the notoriously sketchy and even fickle meeting minutes.

But a camera is nothing without someone to man it, and Park Ridge was fortunate to have George Kirkland step forward to undertake that task.

We regularly hear about all the “volunteers” who do so much for this community.  And they do –  although some of them (including a few members of the City Council) seem to spend almost as much time patting themselves on the back as they do actually serving the community.  

Kirkland, on the other hand, performs his volunteer service the old-school way: He just shows up and quietly does his “job” – for two, three and even four hours some nights.  And that’s not just for City Council meetings, but for Committee of the Whole meetings and even special meetings like the budget workshops.  

Kirkland’s efforts (and those of Charlie Melidosian, who uploaded and hosted Kirkland’s videos on his Motionbox site for most of the past year) provided an object lesson on how much more information and insight into the workings of City government is available from videos than from the sources upon which we previously had to rely – even when those “workings” tend toward what Otto Von Bismarck compared to sausage-making.

And given City Staff’s and the Council’s historical resistance, if not outright hostility, to videotaping or televising meetings – by coming up with boxcar expense numbers that they knew would never fly – we suspect the track record of Kirkland’s mini-cam handiwork was no small factor in the City’s decision to post his videos on its website.

Because of the volunteer work of George Kirkland, we now enjoy more “transparency” in City government than ever before.

So here’s a big wag of the Watchdog’s tail to you, George…you most definitely deserve it!

7 comments so far

Thank you, Mr. Kirkland. Watching those videos is an eye-opening experience.

I am in 100% agreement on your kind words for Mr. Kirkland. I must say that I do find it amazing (although typical) that you cannot simply pass along a well deserved thank you with out pass judgment on others. “Thank you George and the rest of you so called volunteers suck! After all, we at the PD are the arbiters of what it means to volunteers!!!”

I would like to thank Mr. Kirkland and the many hunndreds of other volunteers in our community.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Where did you find a dictionary that defines “some” as “the rest of you”? 

Thank you George, it truly is appreciated.

It also shows the total lack of business acumen by government, for the city figured out a way to propose spending over $100,000 versus what George does for a little under $1000 when you include the price of the camera and hosting.

One can only imagine what is wasted on everything else…

Thanks George. You have helped add an important new dimension to citizen participation in Park Ridge.

I don’t watch them very often, but when I want to find something out those videos are invaluable. Thank you, Mr. Kirkland.

Can’t the city pay him?

how about $100 per month??

EDITOR’S NOTE: We can think of a few aldermen who deserve their $100/mo less than George.