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Suffolk County lawmakers press pause on videotaping plan

Suffolk County legislators tabled a proposal by Legis.

Suffolk County legislators tabled a proposal by Legis. Steve Flotteron (R-Brightwaters), shown above, to videotape legislative committee meetings. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Suffolk County legislators have pressed pause on a proposal to video record all legislative committee meetings after some said there was no funding — even though the plan calls for use of an existing camera.

The Ways and Means committee last Thursday tabled legislation sponsored by Legis. Steve Flotteron (R - Brightwaters) to require all committee meetings to be videotaped and livestreamed.

Meetings of the legislature’s 12 committees are audiotaped, while general legislative meetings are videotaped and audiotaped. All recordings are uploaded to the county website.

Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Copiague) said while he supported Flotteron's measure, it would require additional funding to increase computer server capacity for video storage and hire employees to operate the video recording system during committee meetings. Only one staffer is trained to operate the system, Gregory said.

“We don’t have the budget for it now,” said Gregory, who noted the measure could be part of future budget negotiations.

Flotteron denied the measure would cost extra. He said any county employee attending committee meetings could switch on the video system, which already is installed in the auditorium of the legislative building in Hauppauge.

“This is to make government transparent,” said Flotteron, who is not a Ways and Means member. “Right now, they’re trying to hide it.”

Legis. Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) was the only committee member to oppose tabling the measure, saying interns and pages could easily record meetings.

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