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MCC debuts online streaming of board meetings

Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 3:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 28, 2013 11:38 p.m. CDT

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College took a step toward becoming more transparent as it debuted live, online streaming at its most recent board of trustees meeting.

The broadcast, which can be seen at www.mchenry.edu/board, went off without a hitch and will be archived for residents to watch at their leisure. College spokeswoman Christina Haggerty said both live and archived streams can be viewed on the USTREAM app, which is available for free on all smartphones and tablets.

“I know I’ve already received a number of valuable emails,” MCC board Chairman Ron Parrish said. “This is all part of our effort to be more communicative.”

The new broadcasting technology is just one way the college is trying to reach the community.

Trustees also were given mcc.edu email addresses so residents can contact individual members without needing to send questions or concerns to a general board email address. However, every email sent to an individual trustee still will be filtered through the college.

When an email is sent, the college determines who it is addressed to and forwards the email to the trustee’s personal account. The middle man is necessary because of a board policy that states all emails directed to trustees must be opened at the college.

Trustee Chris Jenner said he would like to see more transparency initiatives, such as making minutes of closed sessions a document open to Freedom of Information Act requests.

After reviewing closed-session minutes, the new trustee said the board has done a great job of writing detailed accounts of the meeting, but that detail has prevented the minutes from being open to public review.

Jenner said instead of writing the details of the performance review conversation about MCC President Vicky Smith, for example, the minutes simply could state the board discussed Smith’s performance.

“Obviously, some of these things need to be confidential, such as job reviews,” Jenner said. “But if we create a summary or general idea of what was discussed, it would make us look a lot less secretive.”

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