The city of Philomath has moved forward with posting audio from all of its committee meetings on its website.
City council meeting recordings have been uploaded to the city website for years, replaced each month after minutes from the previous meeting were approved to become the official record. City officials have indicated that meeting audio will stay online for a year.
As of Aug. 14, meeting audio that you could find online included the city council (June 24, July 8 and Aug. 12), planning commission (July 15, July 22 and July 29), public works committee (July 18) and police committee (July 25).
No audio exists online just yet for the budget committee, park advisory board or finance and administration committee, but those groups haven’t had any recent get-togethers.
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Although I’ve heard comments from the public at city meetings about transparency and concerns over the availability of meeting audio, I don’t believe that in my 31 years as an editor and reporter that I’ve ever covered a governmental entity with so much easy access to information.
I’m especially pleased to see the planning commission meeting audio so easily available. Earlier this summer, the Philomath School Board decided to move its monthly meetings to the third Monday of the month, which conflicts with when the planning commission typically holds its meetings.
Choosing between the two, I’ll cover the school board meetings — I can listen to the planning commission audio, but wouldn’t be able to so easily listen to school board audio (sure, you can make a public records request for audio but that can take time and when it comes to reporting news, the time element is important).