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Wadsworth City Council Meetings Will No Longer Be Live Streamed

Wadsworth City Council meetings will no longer be broadcast live on Wadsworth Community Television (WCTV).
Recently, concern has been spread in the community following a post in a local Facebook group that claimed that City Council meetings would not be televised or archived for review in the future. However, the meetings will still be recorded and published.
Previously, in addition to the minutes which are required by law to be posted, the meetings have been broadcast live on WCTV and are available for people to view on WCTV’s website after.
These changes are legal according to The Ohio Open Meetings Act, Chapter 8, which states, “A public body cannot prohibit the public from audio or video recording a public meeting. A public body may, however, establish reasonable rules regulating the use of recording equipment, such as required equipment to be silent, unobtrusive, self-contained, and self-powered to limit interference with the ability of others to hear, see, and participate in the meeting.”
In the past, only City Council meetings and Planning Commission meetings were broadcast live, all other meetings were only recorded and put on WCTV after.
“The only thing that is different now is that Council and Planning Commission, instead of being live streamed, are also being taped and being handled like all other meetings that we have,” said Robin Laubaugh, Mayor of Wadsworth.
This change seems to be more from the administration as many members of the city council have had no desire to stop the live streams.
“No one on council has stated they do not want the meetings broadcast live to me,” said Ralph Copley, Ward 1 Councilman. “I feel it is only the Administration who does not [want] them done live.”
According to Laubaugh, the meetings are being reviewed before being posted so that the Law Department has a chance to look over the recordings and ensure that things that are said in the meeting can not cause liability to the city.

Past City Council meetings have been recorded by Wadsworth Community Television and available for both live stream and viewing on their website. Photo Courtesy Fair Use.

“It is the thought of the administration that they need to have the meetings reviewed prior to putting them out to the public to see if there is anything that would cause libel to the city,” Copley said. “Like a comment or derogatory statement that could cause the city to be sued.”
Copley and others believe that it is the administration that is pushing for this. The administration feels this will protect the city as they cannot control what people will say when they come to meetings.
“So if it’s live streamed obviously, it’s out there,” Laubaugh said. “Because there have been times, in the past, there could be cause for concern that it could cause a liability to the city, it was determined that let’s handle all the meetings the same way and just have them taped and then posted the next day, if there is something of concern the Law Department can review it and if they feel that it’s okay then we can post it the next day as well.”
Although the meetings are being reviewed before being posted, Laubaugh said the videos will not be edited.
“To my knowledge, they are not allowed to be edited,” Copley said. “I talked to WCTV yesterday through email and anything that’s given to them has to be aired in its full content and if there’s something on there that is derogatory or could cause problems then the Law Director has to reveal it and then they don’t have to air it after that but anything that is given to them has to be aired in its entirety.”
Citizens can view the record of the meetings in the minutes, which are typically posted soon after the meetings take place. People are also able to attend the meetings in person or view them on WCTV when they are posted.
“Not every community has public access, so we’re very fortunate that we have WCTV and we’re actually able to show our meetings and they are able to be broadcast because most public entities don’t have a WCTV, they don’t have public access,” Laubaugh said.
According to Laubaugh, she believes that there have been several instances in which the city was hesitant to immediately post the recording due to the risk of liability.
“They will occasionally delay it and send it to be reviewed to see if there is something that’s obscene, defamatory, something that is protected speech in some way that shouldn’t be out there they can do that and make a change for that,” said Tom Morris, Wadsworth Director of Law.
Despite many rumors spreading around the community, the city council meetings will continue to be recorded and posted on WCTV. They will typically be posted within 24-48 hours after the meeting; however, now a change is occurring with the possibility of potential delays if something the city deems concerning is said during a meeting. In addition to that, a major change that will occur is that the videos will no longer be live-streamed.

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Katie Allen, Print Editor-in Chief
Katie Allen is a senior and has been on the staff for four years, her current position is Print Editor-In-Chief. She is most looking forward to seeing what awards the staff can win this year at OSMA, she hopes this year the Bruin can win All-State. Her favorite part about Bruin is all the new and interesting people she gets to meet and how she gets to share their stories through her writing in the Bruin. She believes anyone who is on the fence about joining Bruin should just go for it and try something new because there are so many different opportunities for students on the staff.
Alex Banks, News Editor
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