District 233 board deals with aftermath of video recording decision

Although the Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233 board voted in September not to begin video-recording board meetings, the issue emerged again at its meeting Tuesday in a debate about how to appropriately alter meeting minutes.

That was followed by a resident’s claim that the vote on video recordings in September was invalid.

The question of whether to create publicly available video recordings of board meetings has been under consideration for about two years. It was added to the September meeting agenda in a manner that was the cause of some debate, and the board member who introduced it proposed changing the meeting minutes to clarify her intent. 

Board member Annette Bannon, who requested the issue be added to the September agenda, said she meant for the issue to be a matter of discussion. The issue was presented as a recommendation, however, and the board voted 4 to 2 against it, with one abstention.

On Tuesday, Bannon made a motion to revise the minutes of the September meeting to make clear her intent in bringing the issue forward for discussion. Her motion requested that the words "she (Bannon) just wanted to put it out there as a point of order" be changed to "she wanted to put it out there for total board discussion."

Board secretary Pat Gnaster pushed back during the discussion, noting that "point of order" is the term that Bannon used during the meeting. 

"I did review the minutes I took. She did say 'point of order.' As recording secretary, I don't always know what a board member's intent is when they make a statement," she said.

Board member Debbie Berman objected to the motion, saying it did not conform with Roberts Rules of Order. 

"You can't go back later and say 'I really intended this.'" she said. "If there was an error, that should be corrected. When you're trying to massage intent, that's not appropriate." 

Bannon reiterated her purpose for requesting the revision.

"I'm not looking to start a war here. I'm just trying to clarify my intent," she said.

Board member Nathan Legardy offered a possible compromise, noting that the minutes of the October meeting would include Bannon's clarification, effectively correcting the September minutes. 

After several minutes of debate, board President Steve Anderson noted that there is precedent for amending minutes and called for a vote. 

The motion to amend the minutes was approved 5 to 2, with Berman and Vice President Gerald Pauling voting against.

The video recording issue was raised again during the public comment portion of the meeting. 

Patrick Keating informed the board that according to his reading of the district's bylaws, the vote on the recommendation to record board meetings was invalid. He said the recommendation should have gotten two readings at separate meetings rather than a final vote when introduced in September. 

After the meeting, Anderson said he was confident the September vote was done correctly, but he said he would review the bylaws to verify that.

Keating also asked the board to provide more details regarding its research into the video recording issue. 

One of the questions about recording meetings was whether the published videos would comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and whether making them comply would be costly.

Keating noted that the board meetings themselves have no provision for hearing impaired constituents. 

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