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A group of folks living in Sarasota have an interest in promoting good local governance as well as civil discourse. We will be publishing our thoughts on this topic on a regular basis

As a fully volunteer group, we do not aim to "cover the news" but we will examine items in a greater depth or from a point of view not found in other media.

Please feel free to comment on our posts (civilly, of course) and remember to sign your name. We and our readers believe that civil discourse begins with knowing who is talking. We would also encourage authers to submit articles on this topic for posting here (see sidebar address).

Aug 31, 2011

Transparency and City Government

A recent public announcement from the City of Sarasota Clerk's office tells us that audio and video downloads for mobile devices like smart phones and tablets are now availanle.  The announcement is below.

Wouldn't it be nice if the City Commission's Informal Workshops were at least recorded for audio access?  Minutes for these meetings are published and quite often "decisions" are made as to what items will appear at future commission meetings for action.  As an interested citizen it would be nice to hear the discussion in order to develop a fuller understanding of an issue and how individual commissioners are thinking before it comes to the open commission meeting for a decision.

The current system lacks transparency and leads to perceptions of minimally adhering to Florida's Sunshine Laws.

Richard Clapp

Sarasota, FL: The Office of the City Auditor and Clerk is pleased to announce an expansion of its existing archived meetings service. The meetings are now available as MP3 (audio) and MP4 (video) downloads. This expansion makes it possible for more users to access meeting and City programming archives and makes it possible for mobile users of, for example, the iPhone, Android, iPad, and other tablets and Smartphone's, with Internet access, to participate now as well.

"The City has offered live streaming and archived video for the past five years, but we are constantly looking for ways to enhance customer service for greater citizen engagement and transparency, " said Pamela Nadalini, City Auditor and Clerk. "This new technology dramatically improves our streaming media capabilities, making citizen participation in the policy-making process much easier."

To access these features, go to the City Website and click the Live/Archived Video icon on the lower right hand corner and select either the audio or video link.

Also included in the service expansion is the ability for regular personal computer-based viewers to share videos over popular social networking sites as well as copy and embed portions of a meeting, or an entire video, through the player itself.

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