Officials in west central Minnesota are responding to a recent controversy involving video recordings of the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District Board’s public meetings.

The district has removed meeting videos from its website. They have no plans to upload them again, Board President Peter Fjestad said.

“We felt there was no need to keep them online,” Fjestad said. “If anyone’s got an issue, come to the meetings.”

Commissioner Kevin Campbell, Clay County, Minnesota, may take Fjestad up on that offer. Campbell, Forum News Service reported, said he learned in late August that the videos were no longer online. Campbell is also a member of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority Board, which entities including Buffalo-Red River have been in litigation to disagreements with over the $2.75 billion project’s future.

Daily News reached out to Campbell for comment. He believes the Buffalo-Red River board should continue to post videos of its meetings, FNS reported.

It is his understanding, Fjestad said, that the district started uploading videos of its meetings in December 2019. He confirmed that the uploading was done to allow for easier creation of meeting minutes.

“We always recorded the meetings so our secretary doesn’t have to sit at the board meeting,” he said. “There’s no real reason why they had to be livestreamed.”

According to FNS, lawyers with the Diversion Authority and Buffalo-Red River have been in contact. District board members say the videos haven’t been destroyed and that meeting minutes are available.

Lyle Hovland is a member of the board of commissioners in Wilkin County, Minnesota. Hovland is also a member of the joint powers authority between Wilkin County and Richland County, North Dakota, which has been in a nearly decade-long legal battle against the diversion project.

“The video recording has always been for accurate minutes. I’ve appreciated it myself,” Hovland said.

Based in Barnesville, Minnesota, the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District will hold its next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14. Meetings are traditionally held on the second and fourth Monday of the month. The district office is located at 1303 Fourth Ave. NE, Barnesville.

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