Commissioner Defends Decision To Stop Broadcasting County Meetings
January 3, 2019
A Livingston County Commissioner and local resident have different thoughts on a broadcast committee’s decision to not record county meetings.
At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners, resident and community organizer Jordan Genso used his 3 minutes allowed during public comment as a “simple filibuster” to protest the decision that stopped county meetings from being broadcast. After a trial run that ran from April of 2018 until the end of the year, a broadcast committee made up of 3 Commissioners from the 2018 board voted 2-1 in favor of ending the recordings at their November 19th meeting.
Genso said his comments were not meant to be adversarial, but he wants Commissioners to know that he is let down by this decision. Genso called it a step back in transparency, and that across several municipalities and townships, each level of government does it except for the county. He said, to him, he does not believe it to be a good decision or good governance. Genso expressed that he will continue to use his 3 minutes like this at future meetings and attempt to rally others who feel as he does to come and speak their thoughts.
Commissioner Doug Helzerman was on the broadcast committee and voted in favor of stopping the broadcasts. He stated that the Board wants to be as transparent as possible, and that this is not an attempt to be otherwise. Helzerman said that he wants the public to be involved in their meetings, but that it is best for people to be there in person. He said the camera can give a good representation, but that it only catches some of what is happening in the room, and is not as good as being there live. Helzerman said that the 8 months of broadcasting were only a test. The committee wanted to see how many people used it, and then once they stopped broadcasting, what was the reaction of the people. He said that he didn’t have the exact numbers for how many people used the service before him, but that to him, they were “very, very low compared to the population of the county.” (MK)