Desert Water Agency Board of Directors favors increased transparency

PALM SPRINGS — As a way to increase transparency and bring the public into their meetings, the Desert Water Agency Board of Directors is positioning itself to videotape meetings, and post them on YouTube, the Agency’s website or both and archive them.

“We talk a good game of transparency, but we really aren’t providing it,” newly elected Director Steve Grasha, who represents Division 1, said during the board’s meeting this month.

The public needs to be able to listen, Grasha said. Videotaping the meetings for replay at a later time would be “more friendly” to the people who are interested in what we do.

“It’s a move this agency should make,” Grasha said.

Kristin Bloomer, who represents Division 5, said, “I think it would be nice for those who can’t make it.”

Gerald McKenna, who represents Division 2, said he “would definitely be in favor of recorded meetings.”

DWA Board and committee meetings are currently available live online, Mark S. Krause, DWA General Manager & Chief Engineer, told Uken Report.

Board meetings are currently not available on video, online after live meetings, or on YouTube, like many Coachella Valley governmental agencies’ meeting are. Meetings are currently not archived either, according to Kraus.

He said the issue has gotten “a lot of attention” in board meetings and in emails.

In January, before he had officially been sworn in, Grasha began beating the drum for transparency. “I want to broadcast the meetings to keep everyone honest,” Grasha told Uken Report at the time. “It puts nearly an end to the nonsense.”

By the time he took office, the board room was being remodeled.

Staff plans to make recommendations at DWA’s next meeting regarding how future meetings will be conducted given that starting in mid-February, meetings will be in person in the updated Board room.

“We are in the midst of an update to accommodate new technology that will allow quality recordings, hybrid participation, etc.,” Ashley Metzger, Senior Advisor to Desert Water Agency, told Uken Report.



Image Sources

  • Transparency: Shutterstock