BOCC meeting minutes nearly up to date on website
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
The minutes of the Garfield County commissioners’ meetings are nearly up to date on the county’s website, giving the public the option of reviewing the records of meetings from 1996 through Jan. 17 of this year.
However, the records of the minutes are not set up for keyword searches or any other kind of search function, said County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico.
“We’re working on it,” she said, noting the value of a searchable electronic archive.
As the Post Independent reported in August of 2010, the most recent meetings available on the county’s website at that time were from June 15, 2009, because county staff members had fallen behind in getting them posted.
The most recent minutes that had been reviewed and approved by the board of county commissioners at that time, Alberico said, were from the July 16, 2010 meeting.
“We know we’re behind,” Alberico said.
Minutes of the BOCC meetings – typically three meetings a month – are recorded digitally and transferred to hard drives on the county’s computer system.
From there, based on the recordings and on handwritten notes, the minutes are to be transcribed by Alberico and her staff and sent to the BOCC members for suggested corrections and approval. After that, they are to be posted on the county’s website.
In addition, the audio recordings of the meetings are available to the public.
Alberico explained that her staff had fallen behind in part because the commissioners historically had wanted essentially verbatim transcripts of all regular meetings, in order to make the most accurate information available to the public.
“My clerks were typing out minutes that came to 40 or 50 pages some times,” Alberico said last year, noting that not only is that a lot of typing, it is a lot of reading for the BOCC before the minutes can be approved and published.
Since then, a new method has been developed that involves less extensive minutes, Alberico said, that still informs the public about motions made by the commissioners, discussion following a motion, and the vote on the motion.
The minutes no longer reflect the entire discussion that often takes place before a motion is made, although that information still is available in audio form from the county, and in video form from the Glenwood Springs cable television Channel 12, which videotapes all regular BOCC meetings.
In addition, Alberico said, members of the public can call her office and get the full minutes of either the entire meeting in question, or a certain part of the meeting.
“It’s not an all-or-nothing type of thing,” she said, adding that typically the minutes are not available until two weeks after the meeting.
Alberico said the county is considering a new software program, called “Granicus,” that would provide searchable versions of the audiotapes of the meetings on the county’s website.
She said discussions about Granicus have just begun, and she was not sure of the cost of the program. She said Garfield County officials are planning to discuss the program with officials in other counties that already are using it.
“This allows you to get what you want to hear in quick fashion,” Alberico said.
The upgrades to the archive of BOCC meeting minutes are part of a broader project of modernizing the county’s website as a whole, and making it more user friendly, Alberico said.
The county’s website can be found at http://www.garfield-county.com.
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