County OKs new video conferencing equipment

Purchase aimed at improving quality for virtual meetings

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners unanimously approved the $134,000 purchase of video conferencing technology to replace the present system that is often difficult to understand.

The county shifted to virtual meetings because of Gov. Jay Inslee’s order in March 2020 prohibiting in-person meetings due to the COVID -19 pandemic.

The current technology in the county commissioners’ conference room is outdated and, over the course of the pandemic, has displayed poor video and audio quality in the recording and streaming of county meetings.

“We conducted an assessment of the current technology in the BOCC conference room and we found that most of the technology is over a decade old, and because of that age, we have issues with both sound and video quality in the conference room,” said Mark Doten, Clallam County IT specialist.

The commissioners approved the purchase during their Monday meeting. Doten hopes it can be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

The new video and audio systems will be compatible with Zoom conferencing, as well as the county’s Granicus program, which records live meetings on the county website for public viewing.

The total cost of the technology purchase and installations is about $69,000, and another $65,000 has been set aside for training county staff.

“Not only am I looking forward to this change, but I know Loni is even more,” said Commissioner Randy Johnson, referring to County Clerk Alanna Gores, who facilitates the public meetings.

“I expect both the quality and the experience of these meetings to vastly improve as we move forward with this initiative,” Doten said.

Supply chain issues may impact the delivery and therefore the installation of the new technology.

“We want to start as soon as possible, with the understanding that, due to supply chain issues, it could be a month or two before the equipment is shipped and delivered,” Doten said.

“Though time is of the essence to move forward with this, my goal would be to have all of this delivered and installed in the first quarter of 2022.”

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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