Supervisors approve resolution to record Lincoln County board, committee meetings, post online

By Jalen Maki

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, voted to approve a resolution that will lead to county board and committee meetings being recorded and posted on the Lincoln County website.
“Recording Committee and County Board meetings and making the recordings available to the public would enhance the transparency of the County Board and its Committees by allowing members of the public to watch past recorded meetings that they were unable to attend in person or online,” the resolution, authored by District 22 Supervisor Greg Hartwig and co-sponsored by District 20 Supervisor Angela Cummings, states.
Last year, the county used Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant funding to upgrade audio and video equipment in the County Board Assembly Room at the Lincoln County Service Center in Merrill. According to the resolution, this technology would be utilized to record and post meetings online, and there would be no financial impact.
During the meeting, Hartwig said having the meetings available online allows members of the public who may not be able to attend in-person to be more informed.
“That’s what I was looking at with this resolution – to be more transparent, to give more people the opportunity, and us more opportunity to see what’s going on in the committee meetings,” Hartwig stated.
Prior to the vote, Supervisors discussed the process of recording and posting the meetings.
The county’s Information Director, Travis Spoehr, said the process “isn’t terribly unfamiliar,” noting that the county previously used meeting recordings for minutes.
Spoehr explained that through the Google Meets platform, which the county uses for virtual meetings, the meeting host would simply have to hit the “record” button to record a meeting, after which, the recording would be sent to the host’s Google drive, a personal cloud storage and file sharing platform that each Supervisor has. On Google Drive, the recording will become an MP4 file, after which it would be moved to a Google shared drive, a link to the drive would be created, and the link would be posted on the county’s website.
A standard procedure will be implemented regarding this process, Spoehr noted.
Spoehr said although he was initially concerned about storage space due to the large size of video files, Google Drive offers a “very large amount of space” to maintain the recordings.
County Clerk Chris Marlowe said he would post the meeting links on the county’s website, where agendas, minutes and more are available.
The board also briefly discussed several other related topics, including how records requests will be handled and how long the recordings will be available online. District 9 Supervisor and Board Chair Don Friske noted that the board would make decisions regarding those topics at a later date, in the event that the resolution was passed.
After further discussion, the resolution was approved.

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