Meetings of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners will soon be broadcast once again for residents.

The County’s Broadcast Committee, consisting of Commissioners Gary Childs, Doug Helzerman and Wes Nakagiri, was formed in 2017 during a proof of concept run to broadcast meetings through the end of 2018. The Committee later voted against continuing those services into 2019. Since then, the Committee has been meeting with a goal to evaluate the feasibility and interest in resuming recording meetings. Childs says the consideration process was slow for “numerous reasons”, but feels broadcasting meetings is important in order to encourage residents to become more involved with and learn more about local government.

He says the broadcast also lends to “total transparency”, noting that when the Committee voted to no longer continue with the services, he heard from many constituents who felt that the decision indicated that the Board had something to hide. Childs reassures that they don’t, and a recommendation to reinstitute the recording of full board meetings was unanimously approved by commissioners Monday.

Childs says the next step is to discuss and determine policies related to broadcasting meetings, adding that there are “multiple things to talk about”, including guidelines for the Call to the Public portion of the meeting and communication between commissioners. Childs says he believes the equipment to broadcast the meetings has been ordered, and that broadcasting will resume as soon as the vendor has installed it.

The decision to reconvene the Broadcast Committee stemmed from a “people’s filibuster” in which dozens of residents attended a meeting and used their allotted speaking time during call to the public to request the board boost transparency and start broadcasting meetings again. Jordan Genso, a local resident who organized the filibuster, tells WHMI he is pleased that the County is bringing the broadcasting service back, and that “even slow progress is better than no progress”. (DK)