Jefferson commissioners meetings to be livestreamed starting with April test

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners will offer livestreaming and on-demand viewing of its meetings over the internet.

The first test of the system will be at the commissioners’ meeting April 9 at 9 a.m.

The audio-visual system project was approved at the Oct. 9, 2017, commission meeting. It went out to bid with a budget of $35,000. Phase One of the project was awarded to AV Capture ALL Inc. for $23,000.

Central Services Director Mark McCauley explained that the system allows those residents who cannot make meetings to join in live and view proceedings in real time.

“This is quite a convenience for those who live out in the county and can’t make the meetings. The recorded videos will be posted within 24 hours and will be archived on the county commission website,” McCauley said.

He said each meeting’s agenda will be posted with live links.

“If there’s a resolution, for example, a viewer can click the highlighted link and view the video for that section of the meeting. It will take them to the exact time so they don’t have to search for it.”

As of Monday, two video cameras had been installed. According to McCauley, one camera will be focused on the commissioners and the other will be set to record those who speak from the podium.

“In the second phase of the project, there will be a large definition monitor that connects to the system that will allow for documents to be projected directly from a computer operated by Deputy Clerk of the Board Carolyn Gallaway,” McCauley said.

“Commissioners will be able to see the document. The intent is to save paper and allow real time presentations so viewers don’t have to hunt to find the documents.”

Those documents will be uploaded to the system and accessed by clicking the link in the agenda.

Phase Two of the project is expected to cost around $7,000.

McCauley said that there was no discussion about allowing real-time participation by those viewing online, although it was an option he would look into assuming there is interest.

At Monday’s meeting, county commissioners David Sullivan and Kathleen Kler agreed to amend the license to cover judicial recordings that may take place in the council chambers. Commissioner Kate Dean was absent.

From time to time, juvenile court proceedings are held in the commissioner’s chambers. Any video, live or recorded, requires a separate license.

Sullivan noted that public comments will be seen and heard and requested that speakers do so with restraint.

He was concerned with some of the remarks voiced during recent public comments and asked that these expressions be done with compassion.

He said it was inappropriate to voice derogatory comments toward staff based on inaccurate information.

“I’m relying on people just using their common courtesy and community standards to do that themselves,” Sullivan said.

“As we go into a time when we are putting this all on TV, I hope people use this time period with compassion and with respect for each other. I don’t want to be the ridged gatekeeper finding that line. I’d rather people found it for themselves and use some self-restraint and some accuracy and some compassion. If you have complaints about staff or specific complaints about issues, we are always available.”

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jmcmacken@peninsuladailynews.com.

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