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School Board No Longer Taping Meetings

The board's decision makes it the only elected government body in the county not recording meetings.

The Douglas County Board of Education has decided to stop recording its meetings.

Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz said the outdated cassette recording machine the board was using stopped working recently. Although the tapes were available to the public, few people asked for them, officials told the Douglas County Sentinel.

Under the state’s Open Meetings law, the school board does not have to record meetings, but the public has the right to make recordings, said Attorney David Hudson, general counsel for the Georgia Press Association.

After the recorder broke, the board asked Pritz to look into the cost of doing something similar to what the Douglas County and Douglasville does by recording commissioner and council meetings and then airing them on local access cable channels and posting them to the internet.

The cost was prohibitive, according to what officials told the Sentinel.

The board's decision makes it the only elected government body in the county not recording meetings by either audio or video.

County Spokesman Wes Tallon said the board of education has been told they could meet at the courthouse where the commissioners meet and use the audio equipment for a fee. But he said the school system ultimately decided to stay where they meet now.

Deanna Morris Haney February 26, 2013 at 01:24 PM
This just proves the fact that our BOE doesn't care about the taxpayer nor how they spend our money! Whether no one has ever even checked audio or not, it should always be recorded.
Chris Lovvorn February 26, 2013 at 01:58 PM
That bunch over there does whatever they want anyway, so this won't be much different. There needs to be more transparency, and more accountability over there! It should ALWAYS be recorded!! How much could a little digital recorder cost?
Bobbi Kreider February 26, 2013 at 02:18 PM
A simple cost of a recorder is not much to help be in compliance with common protocal. Recording should be done..you just never know when it is needed. Maybe not eat out for lunch one day would cover the cost...
Chris Acker February 26, 2013 at 03:42 PM
How in the world do you figure this proves they dont care about the taxpayer or how they spend our money? They just said it was cost prohibitive to purchase new, updated recording equipment. They are doing us a favor not wasting money on something nobody took the time to listen to anyways.
Lisa Cooper February 26, 2013 at 03:42 PM
I left a comment on the FB link for this story, but wanted to interject here that a new recorder isn't that expensive. I have a great one I purchased at Walmart for $30. It records great, and I can download the audio files onto my laptop. Gee, the BOE could enter the 21st Century and actually upload the files to the Internet where citizens could access them. No more worry with those pesky cassette tapes. It just seems to me that at the very least the BOE would recognize the importance of a record of the events for themselves.
Bruce February 26, 2013 at 11:17 PM
How much have the special elections for SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) and bonds cost the taxpayers? These single issue votes over the years have cost millions of dollars. And remember, the administrative staff have some of the highest salaries and pensions in the stat of Georgia. But they can't afford a tape recorder? At least the commissioners did offer them the use of the county TV facilities. And Radio Shack could set up state of the art TV equipment for about $400 to $900 that could be broadcast on the internet.
Bruce February 26, 2013 at 11:22 PM
By the way, the former school board paid attorney Ken Bernard $1.2 million for his "work" on just one school bond, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in salary. No other school attorney in the state got anything near this amount of money. Mr. Bernard is the attorney for the Board of Commissioners. he got $45,000 for his "work" on the county bond. Quite a difference. See what a little publicity can do. And if you want to view the story of Bernard and his "compensation" by the school board, go to Randy Travis on the internet and you can see the story.
Deanna Morris Haney February 27, 2013 at 01:57 AM
@Chris Acker ......lol.......
Bruce February 27, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Do you think not recording the meetings of the school board has anything to do with the State Board of Education and the governor removing most of the Dekalb County School Board?
Bruce February 27, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Just a thought for the Douglas County readers of Patch and for editor John Barker: What if the Patch started a fund raiser to buy some recording equipment for the Douglas County School Board? Just a thought. And has anyone contacted the school board and asked about this? You know, the school board has authority about the school board meetings, not the superintendent.


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