FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
APRIL 18, 2017
Committee Member Mr. Evers opened the meeting at approximately 6:00 p.m. Members of the Committee in attendance were Mr. Evers, Mr. Hoefle and Mr. Zuren. Present from Council were Mr. Meyers, Mr. Kasunick and Mr. Spotton. Council President Ms. DePledge was absent and excused.
In attendance from the Administration were Police Chief Reik, CBO Menn, and Law Director Klammer. Mayor Morley, Fire Chief Whittington and Service Director Rubertino were absent and excused.
There were no members of the public in attendance.
There is nothing under Proposed.
Video recording of meetings.
Mr. Evers: This has been held in Committee now for about eight months and it was brought up once before. We had a few things to look into and I believe that Mr. Zuren did that. We were going to look into the use of Channel 12 and we found out that it was not a viable option. I spoke with Mayor Morley today and before going on I will say this. This is my opinion and my opinion only I have no objection of anybody videotaping or recording meetings. I am not speaking on behalf of any other member of Council the Mayor or the Administration. However, speaking with Mayor Morley today there are no plans of any money being budgeted this year in our current budget that we all approved. That is not to say that he can’t put it in there or it may show up later or it may show up next year. There are no plans right now at this time. Also noting that since it falls under the $12,500.00 it does not need Council’s approval; therefore it would be my suggestion that the video recording of the meetings be moved out of the Finance Committee and put into the appropriate committee; which would be the Ordinance Committee. The Finance Committee does not write Ordinances. I would like to get some feel from the Committee on it. Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: I think as we have discussed before it is something that we to do as a community for clarity and transparency for our citizens. We have discussed this in great detail before. I have done a little investigation on the internet and there are tens of thousands of cities that have adopted ordinances to video record their meetings. Some of the comments and I would like to read them…one of the things that I would like to address right up front is that I believe Mr. Meyers, Mr. Spotton and myself did offer to donate the equipment. With the use of YouTube it would virtually be at no cost to the city. It would create a lot of transparency. I know that citizens do use the Facebook accounts to try and keep up to date with what is going on in the city. Mr. Evers is wonderful to the city because a lot of people use his post to stay updated and they greatly appreciate that. I know with the Opens Meeting Act and the Sunshine Laws that is something that is often quoted and if you go through ordinances from other cities regarding the legal issue of recording a public meeting. Public Meetings the word “public” and “meeting” that is there for a reason its public. The public has a right to view it and they have a right to listen to it and they have a right to read it. That’s the reason it is doubted public meeting. I think that allowing more people to view the public meeting instead of just reading it would get more people involved in the city; which we would all benefit from. There was some discussion on the internet about privacy laws but as you go through this information and I will share it with everybody. It’s a public meeting and people have a right to view it. The two things that we discussed before were clear signage needs to be displayed …when you go through all of the ordinances from some of the cities. Clear signage needs to be mentioned by the chair. I think that President DePledge has mentioned any private recordings of the meeting over the last year so it is already being done. We would just need clear signage. One other thing that seems to be in all of the ordinances; which we didn’t talk about before and I think it is a good idea. If there are any dirgetory statements or defamation of character someone would the power to term of the recording such as the Mayor. The Mayor has used in most of the ordinance that I have seem; which I 100% agree if there is something that happens like that someone has to have the right to turn off the recording to protect the citizen or the city. This is an example of a well put together ordinance for recording meetings. The statement is the policy provides the Council adopted guidelines for the transparent management of the audio recording of Council and Council Committee Meetings. The objective of this policy is to enable greater transparency, accountability, and efficiency in relations to meetings of Council. Audio recordings of meetings is another tool that can be facilitate community involvement in Council Meetings to enable greater public awareness of the decision making process. Audio recordings of Council Meetings can be used to assist in the preparation and completion of accurate minutes. We discussed this before regarding Dragon Software…it would be a lot easier to have it typed out for the Council Secretary and she could review it for accuracy. It would probably save a lot of time and effort on her part. I would like to turn in this example to our Law Director as some guidance.
Mr. Evers: Like I have said I have no objection what so ever with the meetings being recorded. My opinion her tonight is that does it belong in the Finance Committee? I don’t feel that it does. If there is no cost to the city the Finance Committee is not going to write the Ordinance. What do you guys think? Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: You are right I don’t think that it is going to cost us. First of all if we are going to do it…you are saying that the video equipment has been donated? Do we have to have a back up…I will be honest with you I have no objections to videotaping the meeting either, but I just want to make sure that we have everything in place and everything covered. So that we don’t have anything coming back…and we want to know do we have the cost of the equipment. We have to have a back up. What about the tapes? I don’t know enough about it…what is involved. Mr. Meyers I know the one that you were using…
Mr. Meyers: I think that most of them are using memory cards and so I don’t know…we will probably have to address that with some type of records retention.
Mr. Hoefle: So we will have to look at that. Designate in the Ohio Sunshine Laws says that Council can designate where it is going to be inside the room as long as it isn’t interfering with anybody else from the public. The records retention policy…that is going to be turning it on and off, making sure that nothing is turned on prior. That’s all part of the ordinance but as far as cost the cost of the equipment and the backup equipment in case something goes down. Once we have those tapes then they will have to be turned over to Mrs. Simons to meet records retention policies and procedures. Now if we put it out on our site is that going to be more stuff that will be out there as far as storage capabilities. I don’t know enough about the electronic side. That is something that we will have to look at and that is all cost related. Like you said it wasn’t in our budget this year. If it is under $12,500.00 the Mayor can approve it without us. That is my opinion on that right now.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Spotton?
Mr. Spotton: Mr. Klammer what requirements would be needed if the city is doing this compared to a resident doing it? I have talked to some video production people at the college that they get money from the State and they have to meet certain guidelines. Closed captions and some other things like that. They say that these other cities that aren’t doing that are basically going to get in trouble eventually. So that is something that we need to look into.
Mr. Klammer: I never even thought about that and I will look into that for you. My initial answer is that I don’t think that there is anything to it. Resident’s have the right.
Mr. Spotton: What I’m saying is that a resident does it as themselves. If we do it as the city there might be a couple of loop holes that we will have to get through here.
Mr. Klammer: I will definitely look into that. As far as the residents…
Mr. Spotton: There is nothing with the resident doing it.
Mr. Klammer: Obviously we can’t have a fellow come up and sit next to the Mayor. I think that if you are going to allow residents to do it you probably should set some regulations so that we have some regulations in place as to where they will be located and that kind of stuff. But I can answer that other question for you.
Mr. Spotton: We can do it right now with a resident doing it for no charge just does it?
Mr. Klammer: We had Channel 12 and it accomplished a lot before. It becomes hard when we start talking about redacting defamation and stuff because that’s a technical term that nobody will ever be able to meet that definition. I think you should be prepared for whatever you are going to film is going to be out there. People need to be mindful that they don’t commit the defamation and it winds up on tape. I think that it can be done. I will get those answers for you on that thing. I think that the quick thing to do is to set some regulations so that residents can do it and feel comfortable. You may decide to say it and do it later.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: I think that the city actually controlling the video is a big benefit because if we have our own YouTube account. It is a city designated YouTube account and it can’t be altered. That is the actual video. At some point we may run into where someone alters a video or cuts part of it out. If we had a city managed YouTube account we wouldn’t have those issues.
Mr. Evers: Good point. Mr. Meyers?
Mr. Meyers: Regarding the backup perhaps we could consider continuing the audio just like we normally do and that would be our back up. If the video equipment fails at some point we do have that audio back up.
Mr. Evers: We would have to continue the audio because this is how she…and the minutes with have to continue to be typed.
Mr. Klammer: There is going to be a time where there is going to be an expense of storage for that. I don’t know if it is going to be huge there is going to be…if there is going to be that expense.
Mr. Evers: Again I will pose the question do we feel that this should be moved out of the Finance Committee and over to the Ordinance Committee?
Mr. Hoefle: I would say that we should move it over to the Ordinance Committee. We can view it there at that time because I feel during the Ordinance Committee Meeting is where if we do have any costs it would be associated and we will uncover it at that time. I don’t believe that it is going to exceed $12,500.00 and I could be wrong. I think that if we put it in the Ordinance Committee and we hammer it out and look at it we are going to uncover if there is going to be any cost. Whatever it is going to come out it will be found out in that meeting. If it is something that we have to get approved and it goes through the Finance Committee at that time we could.
Mr. Klammer: It would probably be a Council expense anyways so you would probably need that money appropriated to have Council account for it somewhere.
Mr. Evers: I agree but my thought at this point is and these are only examples. Say we have Mrs. Simons do it she is already being paid, if we have Mr. Rydzinski do it he is already being paid during those meetings. The issue would come up is on the side meetings like today’s meeting, ECDC Meetings, Ordinance Committee Meeting and stuff like that. So with that Mr. Zuren hold it here or move it out?
Mr. Zuren: I would like to move it along and I will agree to move it to the Ordinance Committee. I would like to see it worked on.
Mr. Evers: I think that would be the quickest way to do. That way there we can…anybody and I have talked to the Attorney General’s Office many times on this…anybody can record any public meeting anybody. We cannot stop them. It would also be my recommendation to move it over to the Ordinance Committee. With that it is a 3-0 vote. Are there any thoughts from any of the other members of Council? Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: One other concern and I just want to make sure that maybe Mr. Klammer you could give us some clarification on it. Mr. Meyers this is in regards to you taping some of the different meetings…are you taping them as John Meyers the Council person with your own equipment or are you taping it as John Meyers a resident? The only reason why I am wondering is because what you have there does that become a public record? That is where my concern with it is. Should that be turned over to Mrs. Simons then?
Mr. Klammer: I don’t know if it needs to be turned over to Mrs. Simons but if he is doing it is public record. So he needs to maintain control of that type of stuff.
Mr. Hoefle: I was just trying to look out for you on your behalf.
Mr. Meyers: As far as I’m concerned I’m doing it as a private citizen on my own time.
Mr. Klammer: I don’t think that we can make that distinction. If you’re doing it…I would have to think about it.
Mr. Spotton: Either way you don’t give up your rights because you’re on Council. You have the right to tape the meeting.
Mr. Klammer: You’re allowed to tape the meeting but I think that now it is also a public record because you are doing it as an official right?
Mr. Hoefle: That’s why I wanted to get Mr. Klammer’s….
Mr. Klammer: You can’t all of a sudden declare that I’m no longer a Council person and I’m doing this on my own and now I am a Council person. Do you know what I mean? All it is keeping the file somewhere it’s not that hard.
Mr. Meyers: The file is somewhere.
Mr. Klammer: It’s just maintaining it if someone asks for and you can turn it over.
Mr. Hoefle: Now would he have to meet the guidelines that the city has to maintain as far as retention policies and procedures? If a resident were to call for it would they have to go to Mr. Meyers?
Mr. Klammer: Sure. I don’t think that it’s that complicated I would just say to keep the record and don’t destroy it.
Mr. Spotton: Eventually if they continue this situation just direct them right to YouTube. It is retained on YouTube forever.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Meyers?
Mr. Meyers: Just to make a point when you were addressing storage. If you end up with a dedicated channel online somewhere. YouTube no cost…a dedicated city channel obviously your turning off comments so people are not on there making derogatory comments. Then perhaps that solves your storage issues. You post a line to the cities website and they can go there and go through the achieves themselves.
Mr. Evers: This is all stuff that can be looked at.
Mr. Spotton: If you put a link to the cities website we have to make sure that we put a file that state requirements or federal requirements. That’s the question if it’s officially tide to the city at all you might have to jump through those. If it’s a private and we’re doing it and just doing it…YouTube account there it is its just out.
Mr. Klammer: I never thought about the close caption part and all of that.
Mr. Spotton: YouTube does have button that you can click on. Most of them are close caption where it will do it and it picks up probably 90% of them. Some of them that are real long it don’t give you the option to.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Menn?
Mr. Menn: Since I’m here how do you make that determination when you cut that off? If I say “you’re a bad guy.” What is the terminology or words?
Mr. Evers: According to the Attorney General’s office…and you use the word cut off to me that means it should be shut off immediately after the meeting or turned on immediately before the meeting. There comment was this “always assumes that camera is on…always.”
Mr. Menn: Say if he and I are in an argument or something someone has the right to turn the camera on. How do you make that distinction?
Mr. Evers: If you two are arguing over something that is being discussed in a meeting or anything like that its public record.
Mr. Menn: That’s what I thought.
Mr. Evers: It is public record. Now if you two are discussing pine cones and pine trees and get into an agreement about it and it has nothing to do with it. That we would have to check with the Attorney General…
Mr. Spotton: It’s still in a public meeting.
Mr. Evers: You have the right to…if he starts calling him whatever that we would have to check.
Mr. Zuren: I believe that in the ordinances that I have read it said that they deemed the Mayor as the person who can make the determination to turn it off. It was strictly for defamation statements or…you could argue all you want. Unless it’s something that’s not true.
Mr. Spotton: I think that would cause more of a hassle then it is if you turned it off and turned it back on.
Mr. Evers: My gut feeling is that everybody kind of agrees that we need to move it out of the Finance Committee and move it over to the Ordinance Committee and we are going to do that.
There were no further questions or comments.
There was nothing under Miscellaneous.
REGOGNITION OF PUBLIC:
There was no one who wished to speak.
Mayor Morley was absent and excused.
There were no further questions or comments.
Mr. Klammer had nothing to report.
There were no further questions or comments.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:18 p.m.