August 04, 2020

Move to end taped board minutes defeated

GREENVILLE — A move to discontinue the electronic recording of the minutes of the Greenville Zoning Board of Appeals meetings was defeated Monday.

While Ed Walden was the only member of the board who voted to discontinue the recordings, others considered the move during a lengthy discussion. Walden called it a duplication of effort since written minutes were recorded by Chris Devlin.

Walden asked that the recordings be stopped temporarily because of the town’s “tender position” with the pending lawsuit. He said he would like to speak off the record because it was more difficult to be open and frank when the tape recorder was in operation. He also believed the board could perhaps restrict the tapes and let only the written minutes be reviewed by the public.

Chairman Stan Carpenter urged the board to continue taping the minutes which have been referred to in the past when members recollected events differently. As for restricting the tapes, Carpenter said all minutes were public record.

Speaking as a Planning Board member and a taxpayer, Richard Ross said he would rather have the board continue with its electronic recordings because it was important to have the correct information rather than an assumption of what was said.

While he believed the use of the tape was reasonable, Walden said, “I detest the public notoriety that’s gone with this (lawsuit). We’re in a very rough water now and until we get over that, I don’t think we can speak freely.”

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