Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The sound of meetings

Credit and kudos to the Middletown Department of Planning, Development and Conservation for a new effort to post audio of "meetings that routinely record their meetings."

Those committees include: Planning and Zoning, Zoning Board of Appeals, Inland Wetlands and Water Courses, and Redevelopment Agency.

The audio files will be available online as MP3s. To hear a sample, go here.

The files will be posted alongside the minutes of the meeting, and will likely be kept available online for 90 days, with archived material available on CD, for a nominal fee.

A few suggestions while we begin to walk down this path:

- Audio files should be made available as soon as they are able to be compressed and transferred. This is a process that can take as little as a few hours. This valuable information should not have to wait until minutes are transcribed and posted.

- Audio files should be made of every committee meeting. This is a lot of recording and file compression, but certainly essential meetings like Common Council and the Board of Education should be posted and available.

- Committee members and commissioners should be given a refresher on how to use microphones so that the entirety of the meetings is recorded. Many commissioners have very poor mic technique, and can barely even be heard in the meeting rooms.

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