Tuesday’s Scioto County, Ohio County Commissioners meeting might just give you flashbacks to that Thanksgiving Zoom call with your grandma. The commissioners went virtual, sort of, for the very first time. David Lucas Communications, the digital company that normally handles their live streams, didn’t have a representative to handle the typical Facebook Live broadcast. The commissioners opted for a Zoom meeting streamed via Facebook Live. That meeting delivered plenty of technical goof-ups and a whole lot of good economic news.
That’s certainly nothing unusual these days. The unusual part is that the commissioners decided to conduct the Zoom meeting with everyone in the same room. Zoom is designed to allow people to meet virtually. Normally people meet from their own officers. Since the start of the pandemic, more and more people join meetings from the safety of their own homes.
The commissioners chose to meet in their regular meeting space, with other people in the meeting popping in the backgrounds of each other’s Zoom windows. That created a pretty bad feedback problem. When the volume is up on another device running the Zoom call, the distortion noise is awful and makes it hard to hear what everyone is saying. Experienced Zoomers flooded the Facebook live comments with hints based on their own personal experiences.
At times, the Commissioners seemed unsure that they were even on, asking, “Are we on Facebook? Can anybody check? At one time or another, nearly everyone involved in the meeting left their seat and wandered into someone else’s Zoom window. Offscreen voices telling Commissioner Cathy Coleman to turn down the audio on her device are nothing new to anyone who’s participated in a virtual meeting. The commissioners kept their sense of humor about their technical issues.
New Boston City Council Members are old pros at Zoom meetings, successfully conducting several of them since the start of the pandemic. Portsmouth City Council told SCDN they didn’t really see the need to implement virtual meetings.
Replacement For Mike Crabtree
While the technical goofs were good for a few laughs, the commissioners tackled some serious business. They explained how the process of selecting a replacement for Commissioner Mike Crabtree. Crabtree, 71, died of COVID-19 complications earlier in the month. Commissioner Bryan Davis explained that the Republican Central Committee would choose his successor. Anyone interested in the job needs to contact them. The commissioners have 45 days to fill the vacancy. They have opted not to do an interim appointment until the committee makes a selection. Anyone interested in filling the seat can contact the director of the Central Committee of the Scioto County Republican Party.
Also on the agenda for the commissioners were appointments to the Boards of Developmental Disabilities, Children Services, and the SOPA Board.
Great Economic News
Commissioner Bryan Davis delivered great economic news for the county. ” We are finishing the year in the black, fiscally sound. Our carryover will increase. Even with losing an entire quarter of casino revenue. The revenues of the county continue to increase and be strong. We have recovered. Unemployment has recovered and is lower than pre-Covid numbers.”
Scioto County Economic Development Director Robert Horton even showed up with a $95,000 check from the Southern Ohio Port Authority. The check settled an old debt Commissioner Bryan Davis said was “just floating” on the books.
After the official business was finished, Commissioners Davis and Cathy Coleman read letters from Santa. To end the broadcast, Davis offered a sincere Christmas wish to Scioto County residents. “Be kind. Let love abound. Merry Christmas from our family at the Scioto County Courthouse. For surely, we are reminded how precious life is.”
We are a grassroots team of local journalists on a mission to give our community up-to-the-second news and events for Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Western West Virginia. We believe progress inspires change and we believe our reporting has become the front-lines of Portsmouth, Ohio's comeback.