By Pam Avila, November 20, 2019
As a committee Chairperson and a subcommittee Chairperson, I was introduced to an activity that I had never encountered with other committees in the communities where I have lived in the past. I must be upfront and say that having my meetings videoed and recorded felt quite uncomfortable initially. However, it didn’t take me long to understand the importance and benefits of these activities in the Hot Springs Village climate of distrust and misinformation.
I hear the word “transparency” used by the Board and the POA, but my own experience suggests that “transparency” only covers those activities or information that the Board and/or POA deem appropriate for their own situation. The only true “transparency” that currently exists is the result of the work of the Dowdens to accurately record what transpires in Village meetings – from Board meetings to committee meetings.
I’ve heard the suggestion that the videos and transcripts can be “edited” to provide a false narrative. I have not seen that happen and I believe the Dowdens have proven themselves to be honest and vigilant in the representation of what they video and hear.
I’ve heard the excuse that if someone wants to learn what is said at any Board or committee meeting, they can attend that meeting. This is a ridiculous rationale in a time when technology enables more people to view a meeting than could ever be accommodated on site.
As a committee Chairperson and a subcommittee Chairperson, I strongly urge the Board to reconsider any attempt to make Board and committee meetings less transparent by not allowing video or voice recordings. I understand there are times when discussion must be private, but we have mechanisms in place for holding executive sessions and non-public workshops. These videoing and recording activities may make those of us who serve the Village less comfortable at times, but they are essential in rebuilding trust and improving communication in Hot Springs Village.
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