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Posted September 25, 2012 | comments 3 Comments

Board approves audio system

Equipment will be used to record Shenandoah County meetings

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Open government and free speech advocates in Shenandoah County received reprieve but still aired grievances Tuesday night.

The county Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting approved a contract with EarthChannel Communications Inc. to provide media services that officials say would help foster an open government. The agreement calls for an upgrade of the audio equipment in the supervisors meeting room and the conference room where they hold work sessions and closed meetings.

Supervisors approved the contract with a unanimous vote. Later in the meeting the board heard comments from residents who lauded the county's efforts to upgrade the system.

Mt. Jackson resident Karen Kwiatowski suggested that "evidence of your thought processes, evidence of your decision-making, be made public, be videoed."

"You guys really need to be way more open in your decision-making and I think that [there] would probably for a lot more peace in the county," Kwiatowski said.

Van Holmes suggested the board record its closed sessions. Discussions of items other than those involving personnel matters then should be made available to the public after the board takes action on those issues, Holmes suggested.

In response to a question by Supervisor Sharon Baroncelli, County Attorney J. Jay Litten said the state's open meeting laws do not require the panel to record their closed sessions, but the regulations also don't forbid the recordings either. It's at the board's discretion, Litten said.

Kwiatowski noted she had heard a rumor the supervisors would call police to take people out of the meeting who speak out. Chairman Conrad Helsley commented later that no such rumor had been started by the supervisors.

The price of the equipment would not exceed $16,000 and the annual cost would be $2,295. The upgrade would allow the county to record supervisors meetings and work sessions through the audio system. The recordings would be converted and uploaded on a "cloud" server operated by EarthChannel, and the public could listen to the meetings on demand, according to information provided by Deputy County Administrator Mary T. Price. Equipment includes wiring of the current microphones and new microphones. The county currently records meetings with a handheld digital recorder.

3 Comments | Leave a comment

    The audio equipment the board is currently using
    works and can be burned to a cd for anyone.
    Why spend $16,000 dollars right now when
    we clearly need more busess and bus drivers on
    the road for the safety of our children.

    The board spent 10-20 mintues discussing the audio equipment and a new expensive projector for Parks and Rec. But didn't talk at all about citizen concerns regarding our childrens safety on the buses. Even after someone at the meeting brought it to their attention. What is this boards PRIORITIES!

    Cindy, I am about to give up hope on you. The board is so crooked that they can not see straight and they finally agree to something open in the closed meetings and you lost sight of that fact. They strangle us with their taxes and the biggest employer in the county is the county, what a shame that they cannot bring a business to the county other than the county and you worry about a few school buses that our taxes should pay for 1000 times? What happened to the Cindy we all know and love who should be fighting for more than a few school buses?

    Cindy Bailey promotes citizen and voter input at every turn. She is one of the most informed people I have ever known, taking time to study the very important issues at hand here in Shenandoah county. Cindy attends BoS meetings , school board meetings, Town council meetings, Warren county government meetings and work session meetings when possible. She Knows who to contact on what issue and is always prepared in her statements put forth. Shenandoah county is lucky to have her as a advocate and I pray she will continue her efforts. Thank you, Cindy and God bless you.

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