MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Oregon (STPNS) -- One responsibility of government entities in our free society is to inform the public, not merely those directly involved, of activities affecting citizens. The law requires a notice of an upcoming meeting be “posted” in advance. It doesn’t limit how that must be done. A flyer in the local post office meets the law’s requirement. That is a minimalist approach. It doesn’t do much to reach out to a wider range of the population, particularly in a society where the way people interact has moved away from a physical meeting point.
I wasn’t at the March 12th McKenzie School Board meeting but I was able to write a story about it after watching a video. That footage, recorded by the school district, is deemed public record. So are other documents in any form (electronic, printed, photographic) generated by government entities. The video was something new for the school district, done in anticipation of a large turnout of potentially agitated patrons. Normally, the meetings are not recorded in either audio or video formats.
I don’t know why, having served three different terms on the board myself in years past when audio recording was the norm. Preserving a public record should return. As a board member I used those recordings to hear for myself what had been discussed at a meeting I wasn’t able to attend. This is a valuable resource that should be available to current board members as well as the public.
In this instance, a return to past practices could help us move forward. As far as public postings go, let’s at least match the way people currently communicate. The web and social media work. Please use them.
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