By editorial board • 

Commission should seek way to video record its meetings

Last week, Yamhill County Commissioners Stan Primozich and Mary Starrett denied Commissioner Allen Springer’s proposal to spend $12,000 on a video recording system, with an eye to airing their Thursday business sessions on local cable television and the county website.

While this particular proposal didn’t fly, we hope the board keeps pursuing the idea until it develops a workable solution, as the recording of county meetings is a needed service for voters and taxpayers.

Starrett’s main concern was the limited reach of McMinnville’s Comcast and Frontier public access channels — just cable subscribers in McMinnville and Amity, who represent a very small portion of the county’s overall population. That’s a legitimate concern, but channel operator McMinnville Community Media uploads its videos to YouTube, where anyone can find them.

Starrett noted McMinnville’s KLYC Radio has offered to tape the meetings for free once it had the resources, which might necessitate bringing in some interns. Already, KLYC is livestreaming McMinnville City Council meetings, and MCM is recording them for airing on its public access channels and subsequent posting on YouTube. 

While livestreaming tops delayed broadcast, and free is always a plus, we hope the commissioners don’t simply settle for wait-and-see.

The video recording of local government meetings is trending up for obvious reasons. Most importantly, it allows constituents access to meetings they aren’t able to attend in person.

Starrett said residents choose to come to meetings that interest them, but the board meets at 10 a.m. on a weekday. Even residents passionate about a topic may not be able to leave work to attend. 

What’s more, the board doesn’t release agendas in time to provide adequate notice, and is prone to accommodating last-minute changes, limiting opportunities for effective citizen participation.

That needs fixing in its own right. But a video record serves as a useful backstop, and should be offered as a matter of course these days. 

We’d like to see the county survey other governing bodies in the region for ideas. We’d also like to see it consult its own information technology department, whose stated mission is “to deliver timely and accurate services to our internal customers as well as the citizens of Yamhill County.”

That might require some outlay, but free isn’t necessarily always better. Perhaps there is a cost-effective way the county can join the city in the Internet era.

Comments

Seabiscuit

Why pay an outside source?

The county has an IT department. If they don't have the expertise to set up a video camera, stream it to the county web site and upload a recording to You Tube, saving the tax payers the $12K, perhaps they need to re-examine the job requirements for their IT department.

PacificCrest

Well, they just sent the guy out the door who managed the setup of Civic Hall for the City to broadcast their meetings. Their meetings could be broadcast for free on the internet with minimal cost for setup of the room.

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