HAMLET — Five to 10 minutes of Hamlet’s latest City Council meeting have disappeared from recordings posted on YouTube and public-access television, the result of what City Manager Jonathan Blanton said Monday was a technical glitch.
Forty-two minutes and 5 seconds into the city’s recording of the Feb. 13 meeting, council member Johnathan Buie moves that council vote against a proposed rezoning. Immediately, Blanton’s voice replaces Buie’s, and council member Jesse McQueen appears to make a sci-fi-like shift through time.
“There would be no reason to edit” the recording to omit content, Blanton said Monday. “It certainly wasn’t intentional.”
Blanton said this particular glitch was a new one, but he remembered another time the city’s recording showed him doing the exact same thing twice because of a technical bump.
At the meeting Feb. 13, Blanton said, the city’s information-technology contractor noticed that the recording of the meeting had stopped. He restarted it, but only after several minutes — and several frames of black screen — had passed, Blanton said. The contractor melded the recordings at the place one stopped and the other started, eliminating the black screens.
Blanton’s more technical explanation is for IT nerds only:
“There appear to be four separate saved streams (clips) on the main computer,” he said, after examining the raw recording.
“Our IT consultant informed me that the storage on the main computer became full during the meeting (and) the system stopped recording. He attempted to restart the recording, thus resulting in separate saved streams.
“He then proceeded to clear storage space on the system, which resulted in what appears to be less than a 15-minute delay.
“This was an inadvertent technical difficulty,” Blanton said, and official written minutes will include what wasn’t recorded — a 5-0 vote not to rezone property at the corner of Battley Dairy and Freeman Mill roads for a small-business mall.
Many of the comments — and the vote taken — during the missing minutes were detailed in coverage of the meeting in Wednesday’s Daily Journal.
By law, the city must keep written minutes of council meetings, said Trey Allen, a public-records expert at the University of North Carolina School of Government. Those minutes must include actions — such as votes — as well as who is present and who is not, but not necessarily discussions, he said.
Governmental bodies do not have to make or disseminate video recordings, Allen said, and the city doesn’t have to keep the recording after a draft of the official minutes has been circulated for council approval at its next meeting.
Hamlet City Council members are ghosted during a dissolve after a computer glitch resulted in minor editing of the meeting video.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]