County Urged to Ban Recording Devices at Study Session Meetings

Saline County Commissioners discussed the possibility of not allowing recording devices from the public at study session meetings.

At the weekly formal meeting Tuesday Commission Chairman Randy Duncan, when answering a question from David James from the NAACP, said that county counsel has recommended that recording devices, including cellular telephones, be banned from study session meetings. An exception would be the device used to officially document the meeting.

The revelation came as James was following up on a series of questions he posed a couple of weeks ago on behalf of the NAACP. At that time the organization asked that all three county commissioners receive training in diversity and sensitivity training. They requested a copy of the “Code of Conduct” for commissioners and the county policy and procedure handbook. They also requested county meeting session be recorded, and made available to the public upon request.

Duncan said that the all of the requested documents are available via a public records request, and added that some of them are also available on the county website.

Duncan explained that it is not cost effective to have Access TV record all of the study session meetings, and added that is has been recommended that they not allow the public to record the meetings either. Access TV broadcasts and the weekly formal meeting each Tuesday morning at 11:00.

Duncan indicated that the county is looking at making some policy changes in regard to public records requests. He said that they are exploring the possibility of making it cheaper to obtain public records.

Duncan said that despite the recommendation, he is not in favor of banning the public from bringing recording devices to study session meetings. Commissioner John Price agreed, saying “we have nothing to hide”.

Duncan added that the county commissioners are scheduled to receive diversity training Wednesday morning.