Meetings can be more accessible

Published 9:48 am Thursday, October 6, 2011

Coal Grove Councilman Randy Wise has a valid point to make about public accessibility and documentation of public meetings, yet his fellow councilmen and women will not even second his motion to allow for a vote.

Wise is upset that the village recently stopped recording its council meetings, instead opting for the village clerk to take the notes by shorthand and convert them into the official minutes.

Twice Wise has made motions to resume recording those meetings. Twice they have died for lack of a second motion.

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His fellow councilmen and women have argued that the current minutes are more complete then they have ever been in the past. The clerk may be doing a great job but Wise has a legitimate point that there simply isn’t any reason not to record the meeting.

With today’s technology in digital recorders, it would be a simple matter to record each meeting and then transfer for storage by date.

The cost would be minimal, with many modern devices costing less than $100. The data storage would be negligible and the files could be burned to CDs or DVDs after a year or so. It would take the clerk only a matter of minutes to complete this process.

Not only should Coal Grove take this approach, we would like to see every public body in Lawrence County adopt a similar procedure.

Is it required by Ohio law? No. Is it a good practice that could create a second tier of documentation and provide the public with new ways of staying informed? Absolutely.

Paper documents may be fine but this is a 21st Century and we must utilize all media possible to keep government open and accessible.