Second request to video council session, after withdrawing move last month

The efforts of New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner to video record all county council and committee sessions continue as he announces his plans for March’s meetings.

At the Tuesday, Feb. 25 Executive Committee meeting, Weiner said he intends to hire OK Video to record the March 11 council meeting, and to pay for that session from the “Friends of Bob Weiner” coffers.

Weiner made a similar announcement at the Feb. 11 executive committee meeting to video that night’s council session, but he ultimately withdrew the offer “under protest” after several council members raised a variety of concerns.

At Tuesday’s session, Weiner said that he felt that many of his fellow councilmembers’ points were valid, particularly regarding the fiscal impact and the argument of live stream versus upload.

He also said that a comment from council pro tem Penrose Hollins, 4th District about the announcement not giving council enough time to discuss the idea is what urged him to announce on Tuesday his intentions for March.

“This is the time to think about it, and raise questions and concerns,” Weiner said. “I’m trying to do this is baby steps.”

Weiner said that his hired videographer would be stationed in the council chambers designated press section.

He also said that his decision to continue to use “Friends” funds was made after research on his part and on the part of counsel to council Carol Dulin.

“If at any time the department of elections tells me otherwise … ‘Friends of Bob Weiner’ will be reimbursed by me individually,” Weiner said. “Until that time, it will be expensed out of my campaign funds.”

Councilman John Cartier, 8th District, said that while he had no problems with either a live or delayed broadcast of council sessions, he was concerned that the decision should be undertaken by the body and officially authorized before moving forward.

He also requested that Weiner check with the county ethics committee regarding the decision to pay using campaign funds.

“I am not, in principle, opposed to this,” Cartier said. “I just have some uncomfortable emotions about campaign funds being used. I think the ethics commission should give us some guidance regarding this matter.”

Weiner said that he urged any council member to lodge a complaint with the commission or the board of elections if they believe he acted out of turn.