Mayoral Candidate, Janet Sailor, publishes a brilliant article on the “WhatAreWeThinking.net” website.
Visit WhatAreWeThinking.net for more village information.
It's time for 21st century record keeping
For nearly a decade, I have been advocating better methods of record keeping for Angel Fire, specifically retention of currently-used audio tapes, and upgrading to video recordings of village meetings. I was grateful when council finally agreed to vote on this issue, brought to them by Don Welker, and pleased when they voted to begin retaining the audio tapes for at least a few months
In my opinion, this vote represented a huge step toward the kind of openness necessary to a democratic government. These recordings are currently the best option for providing an accurate record of public meetings, although I would like to see them retained longer than a few months so decisions (and the conversations which preceded them) can be reviewed by the public to insure accuracy of the “official” written records. “Interpretation” of conversations at meetings in written minutes provides too much opportunity to “create” history at will.
The next council will have the opportunity to take another huge step forward by upgrading to video recordings of public meetings, and posting them on the village website.
I believe video recordings are the best option for maintaining accurate records of public meetings. Video technology is available at a comparable cost to the audio equipment currently being used, and public meeting videos posted on the village website will offer opportunities for citizens to both hear and see how their government arrived at decisions – and ultimately become involved in the decision-making process. Since many folks are unable to attend meetings (and considering Angel Fire's limited meeting-room space in Village Hall and the high cost of gasoline), I believe at-will Internet access to meeting videos would increase the public's knowledge of their government's activities, which would then increase the public's involvement.
Video storage requires only a bigger hard drive (not a problem, these days), and maintaining a “library” of DVDs requires minimal shelf space.
I urge the new council to consider video recordings of public meetings as a reasonable method for maintaining permanent physical files of public meetings, providing the “transparency” in government to which the electorate has a right. I believe it's way past time to join other municipalities and bring Angel Fire's record-keeping practices into the 21st century.
Opinion by Janet Sailor”