A few weeks ago I requested the contract the city has with SIRE, (Document: SIRE Agreement) the software company providing the council meeting services. The system has been down several times over the past months and sometimes takes awhile to get the meetings up after they have been recorded. I have questioned the clerk’s office about this on several occassions. In fact, the problems started when Owen was still the city clerk.
When I received the contract from current city clerk, Lorie Hogstad, she was quick to point out that the contract SIRE has with the city is with the ‘Central Services’ department. So I sent them an email asking about the problems, here is their reply;
The Sire recording application is used for Regular and Informational City Council meetings, Fiscal Committee meetings, Public Services Committee meetings, Land Use Committee meetings, Audit Committee meetings, Joint City/Minnehaha County meetings held in the Council Chambers, Planning Commission meetings, as well as some additional special meetings held in the Council Chambers.
The primary purpose of the Sire system is to provide live web streaming capabilities, and to be a central repository for documents and files. For the Clerks office that includes agendas, meeting minutes, and video files. At the start of each meeting, City Clerk staff initiates the Sire application which starts the video encoding process on the Sire server. The live web streaming then becomes available on the City’s website. At the conclusion of each meeting, City Clerk staff signals the Sire application to stop the video recording which also terminates the live web streaming session.
Notice the finger pointing goes back to the city clerk’s office;
City Clerk staff is responsible for uploading the video which allows it to post to the City’s website.
This is true, they are responsible for this, but they are also not, IT professionals;
If there is a technical issue with the video file, we utilize a secondary file which is recorded by CityLink staff as the meeting is being broadcast on our cable TV channel. This is a backup file, but can also be used to upload to the website if need be. This file must be converted and digitally encoded into the Sire video system, and then it can be uploaded to the website. If this method is used, it can add one day to the process.
I have asked several IT people about how long it takes to convert this video. At the most, I have been told it shouldn’t take any longer then an hour, tops, certainly not 20-40 hours.
Overall, we have been very pleased with the Sire product, and intend to continue our relationship with this vendor for the foreseeable future.
Thank you, Jon Klemme – IT Manager – City of Sioux Falls
While the city has been very pleased with the product, I have not been. I am paying for this service, and it should work, 99.9% of the time.
The big question still remains. Is it a glitch in the software that is causing these problems? And if so why isn’t SIRE fixing them? We can certainly terminate their contract at any time if they fail to hold up there part of the maintenance agreement;
Or are these videos being purposely held back as a form of censorship? And if so, who is doing the censoring? The Clerk’s office or the IT department? And by whose directive? I would like to think that this is not the case, and if it isn’t, why hasn’t either the IT department or the clerk’s office asked SIRE to fix the problems? I’m hoping by bringing this up, one more time, that finally someone will get the system to work, or at least STOP THE CENSORSHIP whether it is intentional or not.