Following months of discussion and consideration, an ad hoc committee impaneled by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners has come up with a proposal for televising county board meetings. The recommendation is expected to go before the full Board of Commissioners for possible final adoption tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 22. We’re encouraging commissioners to approve the recommendation and to consider expanding the initiative next year if the initial trial run goes smoothly this year.
According to Commissioner John Scott (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield), the General Government Committee previously gave the resolution — which is on the county board’s consent agenda tomorrow and would allow for a trio of televised board meetings in 2011 — its unanimous support.
Under the proposed resolution, Bloomfield Community Television on behalf of the Birmingham Area Cable Board, Civic Center Media on behalf of the Greater West Bloomfield Cable Communications Commission, and Orion Neighborhood Television on behalf of the Orion Community Cable Communication Commission would rotate recording, producing and webcasting three upcoming board meetings — the first to be televised would be Thursday’s session. The cable producers would provide the insurance documentation required by the county.
County officials have grappled with the notion of televising board meetings over the last few years in an effort to provide greater public access to county board meetings.
Then in February, an ad hoc committee was appointed by Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Gingell (R-Lake Orion) to draft a proposal for televising or webcasting meetings. Commissioners Jeff Matis (R-Rochester), Kathy Crawford (R-Novi), and Gary McGillivray (D-Madison Heights) were tapped to serve on the panel.
We’d like to think that the group’s proposal will gain the full board’s approval tomorrow without too much problem. We’ve always supported the idea of televising or webcasting county board meetings so more people can witness commissioners in action. Ideally, members of the public would come to the meetings in person, but that’s not always possible given various professional and personal commitments, so televising the meetings would, in a sense, enhance public access.
One of the best aspects of the proposal is that it won’t cost the county anything — that makes it tough to oppose the recommendation.
As long as this three-meeting trial goes well through the remainder of 2011, we’d like to see county officials consider expanding the initiative in 2012 — provided the cable producers are game and there would still be little or no cost to the county.