Ocean City Today

Worcester Co. commissioner meeting video now available

Regular sessions held first, third Tuesdays every month and posted to website later
By Brian Gilliland | Nov 09, 2017
Photo by: Brian Gilliland One of three new high definition video cameras, pictured top left, installed at the Worcester County Government Center’s meeting room. This camera, and two others positioned above the entry doors, is capable of 10 different shots each, and the videos will be posted following the meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

(Nov. 10, 2017) Those without the means or opportunity to travel to Snow Hill on the first and third Tuesdays every month at 10 a.m. can now catch up on county meetings at their own schedule, as the county has a new video provider after a brief stutter step last year.

This past Tuesday’s meeting is the first to be posted to the county site, co.worcester.md.us, and can be found under the “Meeting Files” or “Meeting Agendas or Minutes” headings.

“Welcome to the new age,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic, who has been a proponent of videotaping meetings since taking office at the end of 2014, said at the start of the meeting. “I’m thankful to the other commissioners for allowing it to happen.”

Though long on the back burner, it wasn’t until last year that the county contracted with ePlus to provide video of its meetings, but the government ended up exercising a return option, as it was dissatisfied with the end product.

“I think it’s important for two reasons. First, it allows the constituency to follow along with what happens, and see how everyone voted. It also provides accountability — if a commissioner says something or does something, it’s right there on the videotape,” Mitrecic said. “It’s all about transparency and accountability.”

The commissioners voted in July to sign with Swagit, a privately held company in Dallas, Texas, that provides hands-free video solutions to governments. The total upfront installation costs were almost $53,000, which includes hardware, software and video capturing equipment. From there, the company provides three content packages, none of which allow native live streaming of meetings — that service is offered as a premium.

The footage will be posted to the site soon after the meeting ends, county information officer Kim Moses said.

County staff recommended, and the commissioners approved, the most expensive option. This package allows indexing, which is what the company calls splitting the footage up into sections allowing users to jump to issues relevant to them, plus granting Swagit control of the three cameras to produce different shots during the meeting, at a cost of $695 per month. Each high definition camera is capable of 10 different shots focusing on the board, the dais or a featured speaker.

Additional meeting coverage is available as a flat $150 fee. The county is allocated 25 meetings, which covers all of the county commissioner’s annual meetings, but special budget sessions or additional work sessions would likely cost extra.


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