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Videos of Warren County meetings soon to be on YouTube?

Glens Falls Ward 5 Supervisor Bill Kenny (rear) conducts a Warren County committee meeting in late 2013 to determine occupancy tax awards. County leaders are now considering video-recording county committee meetings to allow the public to witness the governmental decision-making process as well as keeping all county supervisors fully informed. Committee members involved in the meeting are (foreground, left to right): Hague Supervisor Edna Frasier, Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, and (right) long-time Horicon Supervisor Ralph Bentley, who retired from the position in December.

Glens Falls Ward 5 Supervisor Bill Kenny (rear) conducts a Warren County committee meeting in late 2013 to determine occupancy tax awards. County leaders are now considering video-recording county committee meetings to allow the public to witness the governmental decision-making process as well as keeping all county supervisors fully informed. Committee members involved in the meeting are (foreground, left to right): Hague Supervisor Edna Frasier, Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, and (right) long-time Horicon Supervisor Ralph Bentley, who retired from the position in December. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Move over laughing babies, bike-pedaling dogs, Justin Bieber and singing seals — local politicians may soon be replacing you all as new YouTube sensations, at least locally.

Warren County governmental officials are now planning to video-record county committee meetings and posting them on YouTube for public viewing.

But the purpose of the video posts is not necessarily for entertainment, it’s for public edification, county Administrator Paul Dusek said this week.

Much of the county’s preliminary decision-making occurs in the committee meetings, held on various weekday mornings leading up to the monthly full board of supervisors meetings.

Dusek said the video recordings will allow people to witness the committee proceedings at their convenience.

“I think it’s a great idea and will be very beneficial to county officials as well as the general public,” he said, noting that many area citizens are interested in seeing their county government in action, and county supervisors at times have difficulty attending all their meetings. He said video recordings will keep everyone updated.

Wednesday May 7 the county Finance Committee unanimously endorsed allocating $700 for a video camera, microphones and a digital video recorder, to be set up by the county’s Information Technology staff. The vote is subject to approval by the full Board of Supervisors at their monthly meeting Friday May 16.

Dusek said one stationary camera will likely be installed soon on one wall of the committee meeting room, accompanied by microphones hanging from the ceiling.

Recording the full board of supervisors meetings has also been a goal, but that would require more sophisticated installation due to the size of the supervisors board room. Accomplishing this objective might take months, Dusek said.

“This is a work in progress,” he said.

In recent years, a number of citizens have asked for meetings on popular issues to be held evenings. Such a time may be convenient for some people but not so for others, but the videotaping allows people to witness — at any time during the day or night — their government in action, County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Geraghty noted this week.

“The videotaping creates more transparency for the county board of supervisors — so be it,” he said. “I’ve believed in no-nonsense open government for years.”

Geraghty remarked that taking videos of meetings and posting them publicly may yield additional benefits.

“Video-recording the meetings may make some supervisors more careful about what they say — less inflammatory comments and not as much political grandstanding,” he said with a smile.

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