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Hempstead Town to start archiving board meetings, BZA hearings

Keeping copies of the meeting and hearing videos was a campaign pledge of Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor candidate Laura Gillen is

Town of Hempstead Supervisor candidate Laura Gillen is seen Sept. 19, 2017 in Hempstead. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Hempstead Town will start archiving videos of its board meetings and Board of Zoning Appeals hearings.

The move comes a week after Supervisor Anthony Santino lost his bid for re-election earlier this month. On Tuesday, a day after Newsday reported that one of Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen’s first priorities upon her January inauguration will be to save the town board videos online, town spokesman Mike Deery said that officials began archiving them as of Nov. 14.

“I think the administration just made a decision to archive the videos,” Deery said.

The town began livestreaming its town board meetings online in May 2016 and its Board of Zoning Appeals hearings in August. The new archiving is only for future meetings and hearings, and will not include previous sessions, Deery said.

According to the New York State Open Meetings Law, “If the agency or authority maintains a website and utilizes a high speed internet connection, such open meeting shall be, to the extent practicable and within available funds, streamed on such website in real-time, and posted on such website within and for a reasonable time after the meeting.”

“My administration is encouraged that the Town of Hempstead has begun following our lead in implementing greater transparency reforms, and we look forward to future reforms after our successful campaign of change,” Gillen said in a statement Tuesday.

She had made transparency a focus of her campaign. Speakers at town board meetings have protested for months the town only livestreaming the meetings and not saving the videos.

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