Community Action Organization to live-stream its board meetings

Mar 15, 2019

The Community Action Organization of Western New York has announced it will be streaming the audio of its bi-monthly full board meetings, effective May 6.

The CAO Board of Directors okayed the decision, which was suggested by Senior Pastor Craig Pridgen, who is a board member, and approved by Board Chair Craig Hannah, who is a city court judge.

Armed guards were screening attendees at the last board meeting of the Community Action Organization.
Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The CAO was incorporated in 1965 and "designated the official anti-poverty agency" for the Erie County, "with a mission that focused on serving the unmet needs of our low-income population," according to its website. "In 2017, the agency’s name was officially changed to the Community Action Organization of Western New York, Inc. after its Head Start and Early Head Start programs were expanded to serve children in both Erie and Niagara County."

The CAO is a private corporation and not subject to the state's open meeting laws, but has always advertised their board meetings as open to the public. Meetings became an issue of contention earlier this month, when four board members were abruptly fired and met with armed guards when they tried to attend a meeting.

Pridgen, the pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church in Niagara Falls, said the streaming initiative will allow the CAO meetings to be available to anyone who is interested.