Township uses software to transcribe its meeting minutes

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

As a local township continues to struggle with posting minutes online, leadership has suggested using new software that will help them catch up.

At a recent Franklin Township meeting, the board discussed using software that would convert audio files of past meeting minutes into word documents so residents can view the meeting minutes in a timely fashion.

Township meeting minutes were months behind and had not been updated since October of 2021. Instead, audio from the meetings had been posted online.

Franklin Township Fiscal Officer Nick Dunn previously said that they did not have enough time to complete the minutes and ensure employees are paid in a timely manner.

This had been an ongoing issue for the fiscal department, who is responsible for the minutes. In May of 2021, the township was also months behind in posting meeting minutes, causing residents to question how transparent the township was being.

At a recent meeting, the fiscal department said there were plans to update the minutes, but that they weren’t able to get to them.

“So, we had some plans this week to work on minutes, but that has not happened,” Dunn said. “We had plans to get some stuff caught up this week, but that has not happened. I’m hoping to be back next week if all goes well. So, we’ll see how that goes. But that’s where everything stands.”

While, Dunn said he knows it is an issue, he said without working 12 to 16 hours a day there is no way to get them caught up. However, with the implementation of this new software, the department can get the help it needs to update the minutes.

The software would simply translate all that is said during the board meeting.

While the trustees approved using this software to catch up on past meeting minutes, they also wanted to confirm the fiscal department will not become fully reliant on this software and will review the minutes before posting them online.

“We have an hour and a half, sometimes two-hour meeting and it can take four hours to listen to the tape and actually transcribe it,” said Franklin Township trustee John Fleshman. “So, what’s ended up happening is you get behind with other things. It will transcribe everything and then basically you go through and make sure it’s all correct as your backup as you’re taking notes. So, what would take four hours may take an hour. We are finding a smarter way to do it.”

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