Grayson County Commissioners stepped squarely into the digital age Tuesday when one of their members became the first ever to video conference into a weekly meeting.
Commissioner Jeff Whitmire, Precinct 1, is out recovering from triple bypass surgery, but Tuesday morning, folks at the Grayson County Courthouse could both see and talk to Whitmire via a video conference that was set up.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers was quick to point out that the video conferencing has its pros and cons. On the plus side, the commissioner gets to hear and take part in all of the discussions going on while they are out. On the negative side, the commissioner video conferencing doesn’t count toward the the number of commissioners needed to reach a quorum.
Since commissioners Phyllis James, Precinct 3, Bart Lawrence, Precinct 4, and David Whitlock, Precinct 2, were all present, along with Magers, the quorum wasn’t really in danger for Tuesday’s meeting.
Magers said for the video conferencing to be legal, Whitmire had to be visible to those in the audience section of the courtroom and he had to be able to converse with anyone in the audience who might wish to do so. The video conferencing set up arranged by the county’s Information Technology Director Ken Miller fit those requirements. Whitmire was able to second a few motions and asked a couple of questions during the very quick meeting.
He told those present Tuesday that he plans to be physically back in the officer by the middle of next week. However, he will be attending budget meetings this week via the same technology used in Tuesday’s meeting. At the end of the meeting, each of the members of the court used their comments time to say how happy they were to know that Whitmire’s surgery went so well and to have him take part in the meetings.