Roeland Park forms committee to look into streaming video of meetings as practice spreads among NEJC cities

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By Holly Cook

Roeland Park City Councilor Tim Janssen is looking to expand the audience for the council’s meetings. Janssen and fellow councilors Michael Rhoades and Ryan Kellerman are members of a newly formed task group that will evaluate the cost and logistics of live streaming and recording council workshops and meetings. Currently Roeland Park provides audio recordings of city council meetings on its website.

The creation of the task group was unanimously approved during last Monday’s city council meeting.

Janssen noted that council meetings are often not well attended by residents.

“This is a great way to be transparent and educate and engage the citizens,” Janssen said.

Janssen said he hopes to present the initiative as a budget item in spring of 2017.

Mission, Shawnee and Olathe all provide live streaming and recordings of council meetings, and in Prairie Village a city councilmember is working to make streaming available as well. After being elected in April 2016 Prairie Village City Councilor Serena Schermoly took it upon herself to ensure council meetings were streamed and recorded. Schermoly said she has personally spent more than $1,000 on her efforts but that she thinks the cost is well worth engaging citizens.

“I believe strongly in transparency,” she said.

Schermoly live streams the meetings on her Facebook page and then posts the videos on YouTube. She said the recordings regularly generate more than 100 views after a week of being posted.