We’re a large county, and public meetings are often both distant and poorly advertised. Knowing what’s going on frequently requires dedication, time and gas money. In the spirit of transparency, we really ought to be recording meetings.
Modern Technology Makes it Easy. It really is very easy to record (audio, or video) these days. While battery can still be a concern on a digital camera, a computer with a webcam or a simple tape recorder removes that problem. Loading audio or video onto youtube or other video platforms is incredibly easy.
Accessibility. As I said, it’s a big county. And, recordings allow the public to witness a meeting even when they are at work at the time of the meeting.
Accountability. Having a meeting recorded makes it much easier for the public to hold elected officials accountable- for the promises they make and the actions they take.
Decorum. While being in front of an audience (forever, because looking foolish on the internet never goes away) won’t improve everyone’s manners, recording the meetings could go a long way towards keeping things civil.
Transparency. If the meeting is recorded and publicly available, it’s much easier for the public to know what’s going on and why. Granted, a flood of information is as simple a way to hide information as concealing everything- but at least the information is out there somewhere.
Honesty. It’s easy to quote someone out of context, or even just to misunderstand. A recording makes both of those easier to avoid, and if people aren’t audience, it’s at least much easier to prove.
It’s so easy to record meetings now and make them publicly available. Why don’t we? Why isn’t it practice everywhere, for every county meeting, for every volunteer board? Is it the minor inconvenience, or is there a reason we don’t want a detailed record publicly available?