Technology is great. Until it isn’t.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and restrictions were placed on the number of people who could gather together was limited, among the victims were public meetings by various governments and agencies. Temporary provisions were made to open meetings laws allowing governments to hold their meetings via ZOOM, Facebook Live or other similar platforms.
There have been more than a few challenges and some agencies have managed better than others, but for the most part this has worked to some degree of satisfaction.
Until this week.
Twice, due to technological difficulties, meetings were halted when the technology did not work quite like it should have.
The first such episode was the City of Georgetown’s meeting of the finance committee. The second was a special meeting of the Scott County Fiscal Court Thursday.
In both cases the meetings were halted until the technical problems were resolved, although those at home, no doubt, were puzzled in the interim. Eventually, the meetings resumed.
The fiscal court meeting should be especially noted. Judge-Executive Joe Pat Covington asked the magistrates to meet in person — observing social distance — because of the need for an executive session. Even though the live stream was not operating, the magistrates were in place and the meeting could have easily proceeded or at the very least held some discussions while the cameras were not working.
Once the News-Graphic realized the live stream was not working, we went to the courthouse and found Covington in the control room discussing the issue, while the fiscal court meeting was suspended. It took almost 40 minutes before an alternative fix was found, but the fiscal court eventually resumed — with the News-Graphic in the courtroom and a live stream on YouTube.
The attention and respect given to Kentucky’s Open Meetings laws by our fiscal court should be appreciated by all. Yes, that is the law, but unfortunately not all public officials or government bodies adhere to those ordinances as much as they should.
It was a difficult and frustrating time for the fiscal court, and especially Covington, but everyone did the right thing and the public was served.