Mayor seeks new Cable Commission

WESTFIELD – Mayor Daniel M. Knapik plans to reconstitute the city’s Cable Commission to begin negotiations with Comcast, the city’s cable provider.
Knapik said Monday that the current contract is set to expire in less than three years. The Cable Commission, which was dissolved when the City Council cut funding as part of its annual budget review, is the charged with negotiating a contract with Comcast.
“We’ve been put on notice to begin negotiating,” Knapik said. “After the first of the year we shop open that process in earnest.
“The whole commission has to be reconstituted,” he said. “I will approach some of the people who served on the former committee and seek new members to serve on that board.”
The Cable Commission is a six-member board, based upon ward representation, which is advised by the Law Department during the process of negotiating new contract.
The commission was established at the request of the mayor and by ordinance of the Westfield City Council in October of 1987. As an advisory board to the Mayor, the Commission’s responsibility is to monitor any cable television service provider’s license compliance in the city and to hear and facilitate resolution of customer complaints regarding customer service.
Westfield currently has Comcast as its cable service provider with over 11,000 city residents currently subscribing to cable television service. The company provides telephone, cable television and internet services to city residents.
The commission can set the term of the contract and the payments to the city. The current contract has a 10-year term and provides more than $300,000 a year to the city.
However, the Cable Commission can negotiate a short-term contract, three to five years, if it believes that is in the best interest of the city.
The commission and Law Department will negotiate a contract recommendation that has to be accepted by Knapik.

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