McHenry County Board member Tina Hill (R-Woodstock) may lead her colleagues to the most accessible public meetings in McHenry County.
All local governments must meet the minimum standards set by the Open Meetings Act.
Some, like McHenry County College are a bit challenged in even doing that.
Some go farther.
Crystal Lake and some other municipalities who cut good deals with their local cable systems record their meetings and have them broadcast on cable TV. Crystal Lake even has someone operating camera controls at its meetings. They make DVD’s available for purchase.
Others, like Huntley’s School District 158, have record their meetings with stationary cameras and make DVD’s available for purchase. (Huntley is still working out the bugs. On May 17th, for instance, the recording device ran out of space and stopped at 10:44 PM, before a lot of important decisions were made. The image also jerked twice a second for extended periods of time. And, the seven board members, plus superintendent, look like little dots on the screen because the camera is so far away.)
Carpentersville District 300 and Huntley’s school district post reports to be considered in their meetings on the internet ahead of time. Those interested can actually see what their pubic officials will consider a their board meetings.
So does the McHenry County Board.
If only the super-secretive McHenry County College would let the public know what it was up to ahead of time.
But, even with the county board’s major step forward, it can’t seem to keep from tripping over itself. Think of the board’s attempt to ban my taking flash photographs or forcing me and other photographers to the back corners of the room.
Whatever good will the posting of agenda reports and having a screen on which to project county board reports might have won was squandered in the resulting bad publicity.
Now Tina Hill, touting her League of Woman Voter membership, is positioning the county board to take a giant leap forward.
She is promoting approval of a Granicus, Inc., system for the internet broadcasting of county board meetings. It’s called live streaming. And the camera is voice activating, pointing itself toward whomever is talking. It will record the meetings and allow county web site users to see specific parts of each meeting.
That is one big “WOW!”
I wonder if she will expand that to include committee meetings.
Not only that, Hill wants to allow those at county board meetings to hook into the internet during meetings.
In Central Illinois this is all the rage among bloggers. Champaign County and Peoria bloggers (that means more than one) sit in the audience typing away as their local officials conduct their meetings.
Of course, with live streaming, who would need live blogging?