Goodrich village president tries to ban recording at offices

A village president in Michigan is trying to ban recordings at the community’s offices and the surrounding grounds, prompting opposition from those who don’t want restrictions at the public building.

Just before the end of a recent council meeting, Goodrich Village Council President Mark Baldwin announced a ban on recordings. The announcement was met with talk of a lawsuit and even laughter, but Baldwin said recordings can violate constitutional rights.

He said that as soon as the meeting ended, no video or audio recordings would be allowed.

Baldwin told The Flint Journal on Monday that he’s not seeking to prevent recording of public meetings, but says there’s a concern with recordings afterward. Baldwin says some have been recorded after meetings and they didn’t know the recording devices were still on.

“You wouldn’t want it in your workplace, you wouldn’t want it in your home,” he said. “I’ve had complaints.”

Katherine Vick, who recorded the meeting where Baldwin discussed the ban, said the rule is “one of the more laughable ones” she’s heard from Baldwin.

Vick, the wife of village councilman Jacob Vick, records other meetings as well. She said Baldwin previously called for a sergeant-at-arms to maintain the peace at meetings. Another rule, she noted, sought to make it so the first portion of public comments could only be used to discuss agenda items.

“There is an ongoing attempt to shut residents up,” she said.

Recording during public meetings is allowed under the Open Meetings Act. Joseph Richotte, assistant general counsel to the Michigan Press Association, said “the exercise of those recording rights is not dependent on the prior approval of the public body.”  (AP)

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