Commission meetings now posted online

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

Weston County Clerk Becky Hadlock has begun posting the audio recordings of all Weston County Board of County Commissioners meetings to the county’s website. Chairman Marty Ertman expressed concern at the commissioners’ May 4 meeting about the possible spread of inaccurate or false information through the recordings. 

“What I am saying, is we need to have a moment here at every meeting to discuss certain things on the audio,” Ertman said.

According to Ertman, before the county began posting the recordings online, statements that were not true or not relevant to the meeting were left out of the minutes. The county has lost its ability, she said, to edit such comments by putting the recordings online. 

“We need to be able to set the record straight, not exactly opinions but things that are stated,” she said. 

As an example, Ertman recalled a time that it was stated in a meeting that Weston County was formed by a charter, a
statement she said is not true. 

“Because it was said in the audio, it is part of public record. We need to correct those,” Ertman said, noting that she is talking about facts and not opinions. 

“I would say that you have some good points, but we have to be careful. Where is the line of opinion versus fact?” Commissioner Don Taylor said. “If you say it and it is wrong, then correct it, but if you are correcting it because of how you said it …” 

“There is a very fine line,” Ertman said. 

Ertman said that the commissioners have a responsibility to make sure that accurate information is in the public record. 

“It is important that the public has their comment recorded in the way that they said it,” Commission Tony Barton said. However, Barton said that the board should include in the published minutes any corrections of statements that are not factual.  

“I think that is how it has to be. It has to state the fact,” Ertman said. 

Hadlock made it clear that the recordings pick up all conversation in the room. Ertman added that it is important to be aware that those recordings are online for the public to hear.

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