I traveled with a few neighbors from Pulaski to Oswego on Nov. 14 to speak at the County Legislature meeting regarding the issue of rural transportation. After that experience, I have a couple of thoughts and a recommendation for our legislature.
The first fact is: Why does the public have to wait until the end of the session to speak? In our case, before anyone in the audience could speak, the legislators went into executive session and so it meant additional wait time. For the public to travel to Oswego at 2 p.m. and then put them last on the agenda is a barrier for engaging the public in our government.
The second fact is: Most of the time, legislators do not use their microphones when speaking, particularly when they were facing the front of the room. It was very difficult if not impossible to hear them.
Now for my recommendation: Streaming the meetings of the Legislature would be the most modern, convenient and professional things for the Legislature to do. For example: After reading the Nov. 14 article in the Oswego County Today titled “County government launches a new website,” I started remembering about how years ago when cable companies first negotiated cable service in our municipalities, Oswego County had a public access channel where I could turn on my television in Central Square once a month, in the early evening, and actually watch the taped county legislative meetings.
While attending the county meeting, I noticed that a man was standing up toward the front of the room on a raised platform with a recording camera. As stated in the Oswego County Today article, the new county website will “offer better access to government services and flexibility in providing information to the user.” The Legislature approved a contract with Revize, a Michigan-based software development firm specializing in developing government sites, in 2018. In the article, the county says, “We approach the new site as a web solution rather than simply a website.”
Streaming, unlike conventional recording, would allow the county not only to record the meeting but then place it on the website where anyone could at any time have access to it. As we know, quite a few families today are cutting the cable cord because of the expense.