Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 28, 2014

NMC to tape meetings

TRAVERSE CITY — The Northwestern Michigan College board voted to request a new policy that would require video recordings of its meetings and make them available online.

The board motion went only so far. It didn’t ask for meetings to appear on cable television like those of other area government bodies.

The vote went against the recommendation of the policy committee, which nixed the idea of recorded meetings last week after hearing that only nine of 28 community colleges record their meetings. They also said the public hadn’t expressed any interest.

“Up until that meeting, I had not received one single call, and that is atypical of anything of major importance,” said Doug Bishop, a policy committee member and board chairman.

Bishop said he’s had several calls since that Jan. 20 meeting, both pro and con.

Board member Bill Myers presented the motion at Monday’s board meeting after hearing the subcommittee’s recommendation.

The motion instructed the policy committee to develop a new policy that implements video recording and an online archival system that can be deployed no later than the board’s April 28 meeting.

The board unanimously approved the motion. Bishop said that board member Bob Brick, who couldn’t attend the meeting, was also in favor. The motion received little discussion other than the timeline and reaching an informal agreement to keep video recordings online for two years.

“It’s just time to do it. It’s the right thing to do,” said Myers, explaining his views after the meeting. “It’s consistent with the goal of community engagement and all we’re doing to make the public aware of all the good things we’re getting done at NMC. … Yes, a member of the public can come to the meetings, but making it more accessible is a good thing, especially in a county that’s this large and in weather like today when you don’t want to drive.”

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