New software will allow meetings to be streamed live
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Part of Monday’s regular Seward County Commission meeting involved giving the public a new way to watch the meetings themselves.
The board approved a request from the county’s information technology department to begin the process of implementing a project which would allow the web streaming of county commission meetings.
The project was the brainchild of information technology director Mark Rohlf and county clerk employee Vanessa Reever as part of the certified public manager class the two took part in recently.
Rohlf said he enjoyed the class, and he and Reever learned much and liked working on the project. After the project was approved, Rohlf said it will likely be a matter of weeks before web streaming would be in place for the commission’s meeting.
“They have to send us a DVR,” he said of Swagit Ease Software, the company being used for the project. “That’s the only piece of hardware that we’ll have to install, and that will be an easy install. That won’t hold us up. We’ve already got the audio and video equipment installed. That won’t hold us up. Really, the only hold ups are going back and forth with legal to make sure the contract is worded properly.”
Rohlf was questioned about if the number of visits to the site could be obtained in order to show how efficient the site is, and he said those figures would be available.
Rohlf said citizens are not the only ones that can take advantage of the web streaming process.
“I think this streaming of the meetings would be beneficial to the commissioners as well,” he said. “Not only the commissioners will benefit from it, but Seward County employees, specifically the clerk’s office. They maintain the minutes, and the administrative assistant maintains the agenda. She will be able to benefit greatly from that as well, saving a little bit of money from ink and paper from having to print all the packets.”
Commissioner C.J. Wettstein gave another example of an advantage for the board itself.
“Plus, we’ll be able to go back at any time and pull that whole meeting up and be able to listen word for word to that meeting,” he said.
Rohlf added commissioners can likewise pinpoint specific parts of meetings with web streaming.
“If you’re looking for a specific point in that meeting, you don’t have to sit through that whole meeting,” he said. “You can go right to that point in the meeting. That’s a really great benefit.”
The motion approved by the commission included a $29,500 startup fee and an $11,000 annual fee. The money will come from the IT line of the county’s technology fund.