Casco votes for verbatim notes

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

CASCO – Why read a summary when you want to know every word that was uttered?

Early in evening – while doing housekeeping like approving minutes, the Casco Board of Selectmen decided it would prefer to offer verbatim transcripts of its meetings.

And, it promptly voted to do so from Tuesday night going forward.

Selectman Mary-Venessa Fernandes brought up that minutes for the Feb. 8 and Feb. 15 meetings were a summary, rather than verbatim minutes.

“I want to see what was said during meeting,” Fernandes said. At the time, she made a motion to attach additional information and handouts from the previous meetings to supplement the summary.

For Selectmen Ray Grant and Paul Edes, it was a matter of keeping residents who wintered elsewhere up-to-date on town politics.

“If the minutes are just a summary, there would be an interpretation of what happened,” Grant said.

“I get calls from people who vacation out of state, and they want the minutes of the entire meeting,” he said.

Edes brought up the idea of putting the meetings on a CD, so everything is recorded. Grant said that wouldn’t help people “away for the winter.”

Town Manager Dave Morton mentioned that the town TV Committee has been reviewing an offer from Lake Regions Television to televise Casco’s meetings.

“As someone on the TV committee, I have something to say,” resident Jeannine Oren said. “We’ve renamed it the Media Sharing Committee and it meets 4 p.m. on Thursday.”

“What we’re reviewing is looking at voice recognition software. We could share Casco meeting minutes with people in Arizona and even Hong Kong,” Oren said.

Morton told the board it was permissible to have the minutes presented in whatever length or detail it desired. He explained that the minutes must include “the most important part,” which is when the “board takes an action on an issue.” The town minutes must record the votes, he said.

“If the board wants verbatim minutes, if the board wants a complete transcript, that’s what we can produce,” Morton said.

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