All Rochester boards and commissions will be video recorded starting Monday
Beginning today, the City of Rochester will video record all board and commission meetings. It’s part of the Government Transparency Act that the city council passed back in January of this year.
To start, the city will use a portable Mevo device to record the meetings. The plan is to then upload the videos to the city’s meeting portal page after the events are over, said Jenna Bowman, the city’s communication manager.
The Mevo system, according to Bowman, does have the ability to live stream through other platforms like YouTube. However, the live streaming is not compatible with the city’s existing system.
The goal is to eventually find a technology that is compatible with all of the city’s long-term needs. In the meantime, a city employee will attend the meetings and then reformat the videos for the city’s website.
Many of the city board and commission meetings are held in Room 104 of City Hall, while a couple, like Rochester Public Utilities, are held off-site.
The first volunteer board to face the lens will be the city’s Ethical Practices Board. That group meets at 1 p.m today at the government center.
For those who tune into council meetings on Mondays, nothing will change. The meetings will continue to be live streamed and archived. The next council meetings are scheduled for June 8.
New Development Department launches
Today also marks the “soft launch” of the city’s new Community Development Department.
The biggest piece to go live first is planning and zoning, according to Community Development Director Cindy Steinhauser.
In time, the department will also begin to take on responsibilities related to things like sustainability and heritage preservation.
“It’s a much more holistic approach and a much more intentional approach to how we guide the development of our community,” said Steinhauser.
The goal, she added, is to work with other departments like Public Works and Building Safety to create a ”one-stop shop” for development services. That means finding efficiencies through technology and teamwork.
"Co-locating is all that,” she said. “It’s just co-locating. In order to be innovative, you have to think about continuous improvement, you have to leverage your resources, you have to reduce duplication, you have to think outside the box. So, that’s what we’re off to do.”
To learn more about how the department will operate, you can listen to our extended audio interview with Steinhauser. The conversation served as a pilot for a new series of podcasts we will be offering through the site.
New CVB director
Joe Ward has been named the first president of the newly-forming corporation overseeing CVB and Mayo Civic Center operations.
Ward comes to Rochester from Saint Charles, Missouri.
Here, he will be responsible for leading the nonprofit entity that will manage both the civic center and the city’s convention and tourism efforts.
His first day, according to the city, will be August 5.
Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.