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Recording Civic Association Meetings

My other post on the shared audio comments seems to have generated some interesting debate and to some it has caused some concerns. As I said earlier, we’ve been recording the meetings procedure for the past couple of meetings. True, this was not done through a public announcements, but many members know this, seen this, officers are completely aware of this. The recording helps me a lot in writing the minutes of the proceedings and overcome the controversies on the statements and voting procedure in the meetings.

My intention to post the recordings was to let the proceedings be known to members who could not be present due to their busy schedule. Only a fraction of some 170 members were present in the meeting. I thought an audio posting would be synonymous to the text posting, which we do through monthly minutes. NCPCA minutes do often contain members’ comments, though not in the verbatim format. NCPCA minutes are available through online and they are not private to members only, they are made public to anyone to the outside world.

However, it appears that the concerns on such postings have outwieighed the benifits of making them online. This I recognize as a mistake – albeit an honest one from my part, and hence my apologies for causing such unintended hard feelings. The original post containing the recording has now been removed. If the speakers in the debate feel comfortable with the recordings, I may consider posting them in future.

Regardless of the legal issues surrounding the media posting online, I personally think there are benefits of sharing such recording with other members. Like others, I hope to see NCPCA membership to increase in coming months and years, and ideally we’ll never have everyone be present in the meetings. Online multimedia postings will definitely help those members not present in the meeting.

I’ve seen such recordings are done in other public places too, for example city council meetings. The city does recording, the journalists from news media also do. The City even broadcast these proceedings to the public through the cable TV channel, anyone with cable access can listen and record these media. 

There are numerous other civic associations who also make such multimedia recordings of their meeting procedures online – for the very reason I mentioned earlier. Here are a few of them I’ve posted below. You can find numerous others in the websphere.

Perhaps, NCPCA members will appreciate the benefits of making such recordings available online and discuss the matter further in a future meeting.


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5 Comments to “Recording Civic Association Meetings”

  1. By Diana, April 10, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

    Fazlul,

    You continue to compare NCPCA to government agenices and the news media which is wrong. NCPCA is a small civic association. On most occassions only a fraction of the members attend meetings regularly. More and more members are leaving this association so I am confused as to how you think it will grow in size.

    Your choice to post audio of a meeting that was recorded illegally (as we have been told) and then to post them without prior approval from those individuals was wrong. This post is just a way for you to try to legitimize the wrongs that were done. When you are wrong, say you are sorry and move on. Don’t keep trying to come up with excuses to make it seem like you were doing the right thing.

    Diana

  2. By Mohammed M Hossain, April 11, 2010 @ 3:38 am

    Hello NCPCA members, who attended and did not attend NCPCA’s April’10 meeting,

    It was obvious to all who attended the meeting that voice recording microphone was on the table facing audience and time to time microphone was being turned towards the people were talking. There were more than 30 people attended last meeting to include few lawyers, politicians, city officials and I am sure, few seasoned founding members of the NCPCA who could have and should have raised the legality of the voice recorder right there in the meeting! No body raised the concern! Why? To make the issue a storm on a cup of tea! Fazlul took the audio voice off of post to admit peoples concern!

    No one is perfect. No organization is expected to grow perfect!

    To guide and steer NCPCA, please seek a position that are left by tired volunteered officers! We should be proactive to handle a little mistake before it gets heavy!

    Let us work together to keep our pride that City of College Park is proud of it’s historical neighborhood populated with educated and civilized, harboring higher education for the Nation and world as well.

  3. By Abu Muinuddin, April 11, 2010 @ 4:08 am

    I like this blog! Since its inception it has been instrumental of feeding the community with an excellent variety of information. News on different community projects such as Meal and wheel, winter clothe drive, cleaning, draft city budget for the next fiscal year, police reports and even Snow plowing Chipmunks posts did caught my eyes and the lists goes on… Sometimes, I had to back track to keep up with the postings. I am quite impressed to see the dedication, perseverance of Mr. Fazlul to pursue the community issues for the public cause.

    Though most of the useful postings did not generate any debates, only a handful of them did such as this one. It’s a good thing that the community does care about the issues and come forward to express their opinions. It’s the democratic right to express one’s views openly and freely. Again I like that, it’s a good thing.

    Since NCPCA is the vibrant civic organization representing all the citizens residing in this area, generally community members has interest in it. And postings some of the meeting discussions in audio format seems to be a step forward. I believe NCPCA has the potential to grow and serve the community for good, members should be lenient and open to share their floor debates and views even if it is in audio or in video format. It could be beneficial to the members who were not present in the meetings. It’s a good thing and I liked the idea, and we are not the inventor of this since many other organizations including the civic associations have already done so.

  4. By Fazlul Kabir, April 11, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

    More and more members are leaving this association so I am confused as to how you think it will grow in size.

    In fact, if we look at the membership count, NCPCA this year has grown to have the record number of members – some 170 in total. From my recollection, our membership count always hovered around 100 or so in the past. True, we have lost a few members in the past for various reasons (with my sincere hope they will come back one day in the future), but we actually have gained more. To say otherwise would be infactual.

  5. By Mahfuz, April 11, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

    When things are done with good intention without knowing its unwanted consequences and an apology follows it then the debate is over. But wait, the job is not over yet for who cares and who wants to move on. It’s time to present the facts and reality around us so we can accommodate what makes more sense at this time and age and that’s exactly what was done in the instant post – I don’t see in any way this is trying to legitimate the wrongs.

    In numerous occasions, I have seen voices of our members were recorded in NCPCA by news media and they were not aware of it until a later time. Was it wrong? That’s not the point here, any reasonable mind would agree that this not something should be seen as a surprise in this digital age when even a cell phone we carry 24/7 has audio/video recording features in it.

    Of course we have the liberty to see the glass half way empty but reading the posts, to me, the purpose of uploading the audio clips was not as bad as it is made to sound. When the meetings are open to members/non-members alike with no restrictions whatsoever to its viewers/listeners, then in this digital era, I don’t see any irrelevancy to make the records available on Net unless the rules state otherwise.

    I know we had a proposal earlier to install wi-fi in Davis Hall, but my bar of expectation was even higher – a digital NCPCA – recording/broadcasting NCPCA programs, taking NCPCA to the next level – that’s right, if City can do it in City Hall why can’t NCPCA in Davis Hall?

    Until I read some of the posts on this thread, the issue of public/private or curtsey did not come to my mind to play. Perhaps, this is a learning process to get to know each other to our journey to build the community we are in. Actually, I was even more convinced to the points of one side than other when took the time to listen the viewpoints from the audio clips – interestingly, they all have a common goal, same purpose and same intention – bringing greater good to the community we live in.

    So, thinking, listening, viewing and overall, living in multimedia in this digital age is not always bad as it sounds.