The flap over the online publication of video and photos of Binghamton facilities continues with the discovery of pictures of the ongoing construction project at the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Facility on the city’s website.
These images are on Binghamton-NY.gov in a section listing Joint Sewage Project Quarterly Reports.
According to sewage plant personnel, they cover the same areas of the plant where the staff routinely provide tours, including the one given last month to City Councilmen Dan Livingston and Conrad Taylor.
Last week, Mayor Rich David put out a media release criticizing Livingston for live streaming the tour to his government Facebook page.
David says the video runs counter to recommendations the state comptroller made regarding security risks in a recent audit.
Livingston says he took the video down that same day at the request of city attorneys.
He says the plant, which is operated by a Joint Sewage Board of political appointees, has no formal policy when it comes to photos and video, but should have.
Livingston says, “I think it’s a little hypocritical for the Mayor to say that my tour video is a clear violation of the Comptroller’s directives when the Comptroller’s directives were about a completely different facility. And when the city doesn’t have a policy in place and has pictures and videos online, on its own website, on YouTube.”
David counters that the photos in the quarterly report are inherently different from Livingston’s video, because the tour included a walking narration that could have discussed strengths and vulnerabilities of the plant and provided bad actors information on how to get around the facility.
He says that if Livingston wants to inform the public with his videos, he should first consult with other city officials to make certain his actions don’t inadvertently create a security risk.