Starting this month, the Council has been piloting use of what we hope will make life easier not just for those wanting to testify at a Council hearing, or to watch one, but also for the staffers who work behind the scenes to make each hearing a success.
Until the preliminary rollout of the Hearing Management System (HMS) earlier this month, each committee has had a different process for managing the front and back ends of hearing planning, participation, and viewing. Members of the public faced potentially different processes each time they signed up to testify, submitted their testimony, dialed in to testify, or sought to watch hearing videos live or after the fact. Each step of the process might have been undertaken via different media, software, or even just via email.
It is important to note here that the HMS is being rolled out gradually, with the initial scope of the pilot phase rollout being limited to hearings under the purview of the Committee of the Whole. However, once fully implemented, all hearings will be managed through this one centralized portal. Hearing notices will be available via HMS, potential witnesses will be able to sign up to testify, submit testimony, and receive their online Zoom testimony link—all via the system.
Since the witness sign-up will be centralized, so will the online advance publication of hearing witness lists (a long-time wishlist item for members of the public, the media, and Council staff that our prior processes simply could not provide). Those interested in viewing a hearing will not just be able to access the witness list, but also the testimony of all witnesses who submitted it in advance via the HMS.
We request that initial HMS users be patient with this new technology as we gradually roll it out across the coming weeks. But we are certain that in the end, the HMS will provide a universal, streamlined process that everyone from average residents to advocates, from members of the media to our own colleagues here on Council staff, will appreciate.
For more detailed information on how to use the HMS, please see the “Frequently Asked Questions” document here.
Live or archived hearings can be accessed via the Council website or the website of the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment from this link.