I’m writing to support videotaping and posting public meetings in the county, including open sessions of both School Board meetings and Board of Supervisors meetings. The meetings contain a lot more information than can be printed in the paper, and the official minutes of the meetings don’t give readers a full sense of what happens at them. (Though Roger Piantadosi’s excellent reports on Supervisors meetings really did give readers a sense of being in the room!)
The issue of recording meetings came up at the end of the Feb. 9 School Board meeting, and the board voted 3-2 against it. The subject is still under consideration, however. Recording public meetings is completely legal (in fact it’s illegal to prevent such recording), and many, if not most, counties in Virginia record and archive public meetings.
Public meetings are generally not well-attended. I don’t think this is because of lack of interest, but because of the far-flung geography of our county. Work and family obligations, as well as a lack of mobility of some residents, make meetings difficult to attend for many.
Technology for recording and posting at a low cost is readily available — kids post videos on YouTube all the time! Residents who don’t have good internet access could come to the Library to watch sessions that are of interest to them. It would mostly be relatively boring, no doubt, but it would be a great way to achieve the transparency in government that we all desire.