Times have changed in Carpentersville, to the point officials are eager to stream the village board meetings online. Civility rules the meetings these days and it's one reason Trustee Kevin Rehberg was behind the move to get them online.
"I wanted to put a good example out there to what elected officials are doing now, compared to what they were doing before," Rehberg said. "Carpentersville had a bad image on online videos ... and it's time for us to step forward and to find ourselves online, to find our own online presence."
Earlier this week, the village board signed a deal with Granicus that will let residents watch village board meetings live or on demand from their smartphones, tablets or computers. The system, scheduled to be ready by the spring, costs the village $300 a month, plus a one-time, $2,625 fee. The village will continually monitor hits to the website to see whether people are actually using the service, Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said.
You'd access the system through Carpentersville's website and you could either watch the entire meeting or click on a section of the agenda you want to see.
People are very busy these days and can't always attend the board meetings or watch them on the public access channel, so putting the meetings online helps people follow board business on their time, Rehberg said.
Most importantly, the service also serves to increase transparency, he said. "It'll be another way for residents to hold elected officials responsible for what they say and how they vote," Rehberg said.
In previous years, people put portions of some board meetings on YouTube and it wasn't always flattering. The footage showed trustees sparring with each other and with the public on a full range of issues, some of it delving into personal issues.
The village opted not to use YouTube as a source because there's no way to stop those videos from being linked to the newer ones, Rehberg said. People also took too many liberties with the footage on the video sharing website, Village President Ed Ritter said.
"That led to captions and other things that made it more of a mockery or a personal vendetta than it was any kind of actual historical record," Ritter said. "We work hard at having unity and respecting each other when we are at our meetings. We disagree on things, but we disagree agreeably."