Eugene City Council considers hiring stenographer to keep minutes of meetings

via Register-Guard

In an era of streaming video and social media, residents may in coming months be able to read what is said at Eugene City Council meetings.

Every single word of every single meeting.

Providing verbatim minutes of City Council meetings in a digital format is one of the proposals that elected leaders are mulling as they seek to improve transparency and public trust in City Hall.

Eugene City Coucil

Eugene City Coucil

In May, the city budget committee — the eight city councilors plus an equal number of citizen members — recommended that the city restore the position of “City Council stenographer,” or minutes recorder, pending future approval by the council.

If the council gives its OK, the money would be added as part of a budget change made in December.

The stenographic record wouldn’t come cheap. City staff have estimated the annual labor cost at about $200,000, not including materials and other equipment.

The city once had a pool of recorders who took detailed minutes of meetings of City Council and other city advisory boards for public review. Those minutes didn’t list every single word, but were still very detailed. But budget cuts slowly eliminated those positions until the last one was cut in 2012, City Recorder Beth Forrest said.

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