Live streaming council meetings, signing up for an emergency notification system and putting city logos on city-owned vehicles were agenda items at a Daleville City Council work session held Monday, Feb. 1.
The work session was held the day before the regularly scheduled voting meeting set for Feb. 2 in order to discuss the issues in more detail before the voting meeting the next day. No official votes may be taken at work sessions.
The issue of live streaming council meetings has been tabled for several council meetings pending the opportunity to further discuss the issue.
At the work session the city clerk disseminated information that had been obtained from the Alabama League of Municipalities detailing social media archiving services offered by a North Carolina firm called ArchiveSocial.
“Social media is a public record in all 50 states and public entities must be prepared to respond to public records requests for all their public and ancillary pages,” according to the ArchiveSocial information provided. “Archiving ensures compliance with public records laws, freedom of information/open records requests, eDiscovery and litigation readiness and social media retention requirements.
ArchiveSocial’s continuous social media archiving solution automatically captures and preserves your content, according to the company’s website. “ArchiveSocial’s social media archiving and website archiving products provide the most accurate and comprehensive solution to help government agencies, school districts and other public organizations remain compliant with public record laws and actively manage risk online.”
The company gave a proposed cost of services of $199 per month to provide social media archives for the city.
Whether archives of social media recordings of council meetings were required to be kept was a subject discussed without a clear answer obtained.
Daleville City Clerk Angelia Filmore said that she had reached out to the cities of Ozark and Enterprise, both of whom live stream their council meetings via Facebook Live. Ozark has their own IT department which handles the live streaming and Enterprise has a contract with an outside source to do their live streaming, she reported. She said she had not asked either city if they contracted with an archiving company.
Both Daleville Mayor Jayme Stayton and Councilwoman Jo Reese said multiple times that they wanted “protection” afforded by a company such as ArchiveSocial but that the city’s budget was not in a position to take on more expenses.
“We need protection if protection is there,” said Stayton. Reese agreed. Neither defined what they felt they needed protection from.
“I don’t mind the live streaming of the city council meetings but I’m concerned about the archiving,” said Councilwoman Katheryne Horace, requesting more information about the laws governing social media records.
Councilman Kevin Turley said that he had initially introduced the issue of live streaming meetings in the interest of transparency. “We are transparent,” Reese countered. “We’ve got a newspaper person reporting every word that’s said in here. It’s not a matter of transparency.”
At the voting meeting the next day, the council voted to remove the issue of live streaming meetings until more information was provided and until budget hearings for the next fiscal year. Because the Archive Social contract is for $199 per month the mayor suggested revisiting the issue in October. “It’s not something we necessarily need at this point,” Reese said. “We’re doing the best we can with what we have. I know it’s just a little here and a little there but it all adds up,” she said.
Stayton, Reese, and Councilmen Alan Souders and Jimmy Monk voted to remove the issue from the agenda at the voting meeting Feb. 2. Horace and Turley abstained from voting.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m just going to say that I know you have a right to abstain but we are called here to vote for things and we really need to vote,” Reese said to Horace and Turley.
“I’d just like to comment that it is my right to abstain,” Horace replied.
“I know it’s your right but I’m saying we have a duty to vote,” Reese said.
“I have a duty to abstain if I want to,” Horace replied.
In other business the council discussed contracting with the entertainment venue that has provided rides at the most recent Family Fun Fests held at Culpepper Park. Signing a more permanent contract with the entertainment company would earn the event official designation as the Dale County Fair, Stayton said.
A sign designating Culpepper Park as the Dale County Fairgrounds will be installed. “It’s an honor for us to have this event,” Stayton said. Horace questioned why the fair had previously set up in other Dale County municipalities after closing in Daleville. “Daleville is the biggest one,” Stayton said. “Daleville is the main attraction.”
After discussion the council reached a consensus to sign the fair contract with the stipulation that the city of Daleville is not responsible for providing portable bathrooms on site this year but will resume responsibility with the next years’ fairs. The contract was approved at the voting meeting the next day.
In unrelated business at the work session, the council expressed a general consensus on the issue of placing the Daleville City logo on the city garbage truck and senior citizen van and address putting the city logo on the other city vehicles at the next budget meeting.
Horace moved that the council move forward with a vote at the voting meeting Feb. 2 and then get a total of three price quotes from vendors for placing logos on those two vehicles. “That will give others the opportunity to provide quotes,” she said. At the voting meeting Feb. 2 the council unanimously approved putting city logos on the garbage truck and senior citizen van and then requesting bids.
Also discussed at the work session was the issue of contracting with a Code Red emergency notification service that allows emergency officials to notify residents and businesses by telephone, cell phone, text message, email and social media regarding time-sensitive general and emergency notifications.
Turley, who initially introduced the issue to the council, had a Code Red representative on standby to provide a virtual presentation to the council at the work session but Reese asked for a written presentation that she could read outside of the meeting time instead.
At the voting meeting Feb. 2 the issue of Code Red was removed from the council voting agenda pending obtaining additional information and a review of the financial cost of contracting with the service. Monk asked that the Department of Public Safety Chief be given the opportunity to review the details of the service and give a recommendation to the council.
The next meeting of the Daleville City Council is March 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the Daleville City Hall Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public.