OPINION

Our View: Livestreaming meetings vital for all parties

Kent Weeklies

A recent work session of the Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education was not livestreamed or recorded, prompting valid complaints from district stakeholders.

During the pandemic, regular meetings and works sessions were conducted online with livestreaming and recordings available. Superintendent Tom Bratten said he had not arranged for the February work session to be recorded as the BOE had resumed in-person meetings and prior to the pandemic, work sessions were not streamed or recorded.

If nothing else, this pandemic has taught us that change can and does happen and how things used to be done may not work any longer.

We encourage the BOE — and every other governmental entity — to maintain a policy of livestreaming and/or recording meetings long after the pandemic comes to an end. Policies should be developed and posted on how individuals can ask questions and submit comments to be included in the meetings.

Family and work responsibilities may not always allow people to attend meetings in person. That doesn't diminish their need and right to know what their school districts and cities are doing. Giving them an opportunity to be connected and knowledgeable on issues has a positive impact for both the stakeholders and government officials.

Transparency is vital for all governmental entities. Stakeholders need to not only know what decisions are being made but, just as importantly, how and why they were made. Transparency reduces misunderstandings and misinformation being distributed, especially through social media. And it keeps individuals connected to their communities.

Livestreaming and/or recording governmental meetings became a necessity during this pandemic. Now it needs to be a standard by which governmental entities operate.