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Microphones taken down from Green Bay City Hall

City Attorney Joanne Bungert confirms to NBC 26 that the audio recording devices were removed last Thursday, March 9
No more mics.jpeg
Posted at 2:53 PM, Mar 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-14 17:03:30-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Microphones have been taken down from Green Bay City Hall.

City Attorney Joanne Bungert confirms to NBC 26 that the audio recording devices were removed last Thursday morning, March 9.

Last Tuesday, the Common Council voted 9-3 approving a policy to remove all of City Hall's audio recording devices.

As part of the item that was voted on, Council members also voted in favor that all audio recordings be destroyed once the pending lawsuit is settled.

Brown County Circuit Court judge Marc Hammer granted a temporary restraining order directing the microphones be turned off during a hearing on March 2. Hammer also ordered that any existing recordings be sealed, but not destroyed.

According to Wisconsin law, one person must consent to being recorded over audio in a private conversation.

City leaders have said the microphones were installed on the second floor hallway in December 2021, and on the first floor hallway in July last year due to safety concerns from city staff and community members.

According to a brief filed from the city's defense attorneys, the microphones were installed outside the council chambers and the mayor's office on the second floor, and outside the clerk's office on the first floor. The brief states the City installed the audio recording devices following several safety incidents that occurred in June 2021, November 2021, and April 2022.

Signage alerting City Hall visitors they were being recorded over audio and video weren't posted until last month.

Following the judge's order, the City posted new signage in City Hall telling community members they were being recorded only by video.

The manufacturer of the microphones includes notice stickers in each device it ships.

A lawsuit filed against the City of Green Bay and Mayor Eric Genrich claims the City's use over audio recording devices is illegal.