Woods considers airing meeting recordings

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 23, 2013

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Residents who want to hear for themselves what the City Council is working on might have easy access to those meetings in the future.

During a Committee of the Whole meeting Jan. 14, the City Council discussed the possibility of providing at least an audio link to meetings, similar to what the Grosse Pointe Public Schools had done for some time. The schools now provide video access to meetings on the district’s website.

“They can get the full fleshed-out conversation,” Council member Michael Koester said after he raised the issue at the meeting.

That recording, however, would have to be linked to another service, due to space issues.

Council member Vicki Granger agreed that the city should pursue providing recordings of meetings.

“There are a number of third-party sites that you can upload the audio to,” she said.

Council member Kevin Ketels asked that the city look into the possibility of video.

“It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to have a digital camera … and throw it on YouTube,” he said. “Audio is going to be tough to listen to an hour and a half to two hours.”

Granger, however, said that she had listened to a long board meeting in the past, if it was a topic of interest.

The council asked for information on what type of time commitment uploading videos would take city staff, but they also wanted more information about protecting the integrity of the recording. For instance, they want to see if there is a way to protect from someone editing the information to take segments out of context for their own personal interest.

They are planning to ask for more information from the city attorney in regards to protecting the recording.

“I wouldn’t want that reproduced or edited,” Council member Todd McConaghy said.

If they do choose to provide access to meeting coverage, Grosse Pointe Woods won’t be the only local community to make that shift in recent months. Harper Woods also recently decided to move forward with video recordings, which they had planned to air for residents.

Several other communities in the area have aired meetings on local cable channels for years.