January 31, 2007

Freeholder video meeting minutes now on the web

Contact: Tina Renna, President UCWA 908-709-0530

Union County Watchdog Association Posts Freeholder Meetings on Website Using Veotag, a Service That Makes Web Video More Useful and Convenient

Union County, NJ – The Union County Watchdog Association announced today that it will be posting complete video coverage of Union County Freeholder’s meetings on its site, www.unioncountywatchdog.org. “Union County government accounts for 1/4 of our property tax bills and constituents have a right to see and hear what goes on during local government meetings,” said Tina Renna, president of Union County Watchdog Association. “Posting video of Union County Freeholder’s meetings on the web gives constituents an easy way to stay informed and it helps government be more responsive and connected to their constituents.”

The Association is using Veotag, a video enhancement service, to make the video footage of the meetings more convenient and useful for constituents to view. With Veotag, constituents can see a clickable table of contents alongside the video as it plays on their screens. They can click on any item in the table of contents to jump to that moment in the video. This table of contents is also searchable on search engines. A search for “Union County Freeholder Meeting”, or any other word or phrase that is in the table of contents will provide a link to the video.

“Because freeholder meetings can be long and cover many topics, we were concerned whether people would watch the videos” continued Ms. Renna. “By enhancing the video with Veotag, citizens can click directly to the parts that interest them and skip the rest. We believe Veotag is an essential tool for governments to use online video to be transparent to their constituents.”

“Last year Union County government spent approximately $110,000 to replace their audio and video equipment and $6,000 to upgrade their website without providing for web-cast meetings” said Renna, “Currently only a small amount of the 21 towns air freeholder meetings on cable. This new technology is an opportunity for county government to leverage their tax-dollar investment and be connected to anyone with a computer.”

The Union County Watchdog Association utilizes the Open Public Records Act to obtain and then post to their website for free public access many records that aren’t available on the county’s official site. “I’m proud and excited to add video meeting minutes to our extensive on-line library which shines a light on Union County government” said Ms. Renna.

An example of a Union County Freeholder’s meeting video that has been enhanced using Veotag can be viewed by clicking HERE.