Social Services board meetings may soon be televised

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin
Meetings of the Rowan County Board of Social Services may soon be available for viewing on Channel 16, the Salisbury government channel.
David Boling, the county’s IT director, and Webmaster John Shaver met with board members at their August meeting Tuesday night to see if they were interested in having the meetings recorded and televised. Rowan County commissioners’ meetings have been shown on Channel 16 since last December.
Boling said they would set up the county’s portable camera in a position where all of the social services board is visible and maintain that constant shot.
To try to move it creates a choppiness in the picture, he said, and affects the quality of the sound. Boling said they would probably set up a couple of microphones on the tables so all board members could be heard clearly.
Boling said Shaver had committed to record the meetings and could do some editing on-site and some afterward before the DVD is turned over to the television station.
Board members were agreeable to recording the meetings. “I think it’s worth giving it a shot,” said Jim Sides, who represents county commissioners on the board. “It’ll give the people who don’t have anything to do on Saturday nights something to keep them busy.”
Maybe it’ll even keep them from going out and painting on trucks, he added, referring to a story in Tuesday’s Post about vandals painting graffiti on South Main Street trucks and businesses.
Board member John Blair said televising the meetings is a great idea, but pointed out that the chairs in the meeting room are oftentimes filled with staff members. “Should we think about another room?”
Vice Chairman Carl Ford said they could move their meeting place from the downtown Crawford Building to the much larger meeting room at the Social Services headquarters on West Innes Street.
The board had been meeting there before changing to the Crawford Building in 2006 to make the meeting site more convenient for members.
Ford said the acoustics might be more difficult in the West Innes meeting room due to the larger space and tile floors. “It’s a little more echoey,” he said.
Sides suggested recording a meeting in the Crawford Building to see how it turns out. He said the three tables already placed in a U-shape could be moved closer together so all board members, Director Sandra Wilkes and Administrative Assistant Kelley Williams would all be visible.
Boling suggested that board members do what commissioners did and record the first meeting as a trial run not to be shown on Channel 16. “Naturally, it would be considered a public record at that point if somebody wanted to request it,” he said.
Sides said commissioners were all given DVDs of their trial run so they could review it at home and make suggestions for improvement before recording them to air.
Board members agreed to have Shaver record their next meeting on Sept. 30.
Boling said he and Shaver would test the equipment in the room prior to the meeting.