Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: email@example.com
Starting this summer, New York State meetings must be webcast for the public if they fall under the state's open meetings law. As one of his first official actions as governor, Eliot Spitzer signed an executive order requiring state agencies and public authorities to come up with plans to broadcast all such meetings on the Internet. "The purpose," says Jennifer Givner, Spitzer's spokeswoman, "is to increase transparency and access for members of the public."
It may not be so easy. There are nearly 100 agencies. Meetings take place all over the state, notes Greg Benson, executive director of New York State Forum, which represents state and local government IT personnel. Agencies with the capability of web- casting in real time must do so for the meetings. All others must make webcasts available to the public within two business days of the meeting. To serve the disabled, the webcasts must synchronize captioning with the audio and video tracks.
A purchasing memo was sent out to agencies suggesting each one contact various vendors to compare prices and service. Benson would like the state to develop or buy a method for webcasting, rather than tell 100 different agencies to "do their own thing."
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