Post #360: RESCINDED

Posted on August 22, 2019

Looks like the Town of Vienna is no longer posting recordings of any Town work sessions, starting in August.  And I think that’s a shame. 

I totally messed this up the first time, in Post #356.  I glanced at a couple of web pages and came to the conclusion that the Town had changed where it posted recordings of its meetings.  I went to find something, and … nope.  Not available.

Yes, the Town has changed where it posts recordings of meetings.  To look for a recording, you must search both the Town’s legislative calendar on Granicus, and search the Town’s own set of links to recordings.  Links to both are on this Town of Vienna web page.

No, the Town no longer appears to post recordings of work sessions.  Which strikes me as a just-plain-wrong thing to do.  Particularly when, at the last work session I attended, the audio engineer was sitting about three seats from me, controlling the microphones and such.

In any case, as of right now, if you look closely at both pages where the Town posts records, and crosswalk them, it looks like we’re back to the bad old days. Here’s my crosswalk of what is posted where, for every meeting listed on the Town’s legislative (Granicus) calendar, starting with June 2019.  (So, this ONLY shows Town Council, Planning Commission, Board of Architectural Review, and Board of Zoning Appeals.  It does not show the other board and commissions.  And I did not, in fact, click each link to make sure it worked.  So this is just TC, PC, BAR, BZA meetings for which a link to some recording exists.)

Maybe this is a reaction to the Sunrise lawsuit — the advice you will get from every lawyer is to provide as little information as possible.   Maybe this is just an oversight.  Maybe this is temporary, or something.

But as of right now, if you want to hear what occurred in some public work session of one of the Town’s various councils, boards, and commissions — it looks like you have to show up.  Or be lucky enough that somebody else showed up and recorded it for you.  Ain’t no minutes for these work sessions, either.  If you don’t show up, or have some private citizen record and post the meeting, tough luck.

And if you do attend, with no access to a recording you have to rely on your memory.  Which, I can attest, is a risky and error-prone thing to do.  Many times I have referred to my recordings only to find that what I remember having been said, hadn’t actually been said.

I can’t tell you how sick I am of attending and recording these meetings.  But I’m not going to get on my soapbox.  The mere fact of having the work sessions open to the public satisfies the letter of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.  But the fact that the Town makes recordings for its own internal use, but chooses not to make those public, certainly seems to violate the spirit of the law.