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April 12, 2024

UPDATE: Chatham Trustee Ryan Mann spearheads spending $27k for meeting videos, gets horrible results –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On June 25, 2018


UPDATE: After more than 10 weeks, hoping the audio problems would have been worked out by now, the audio for the June 12, 2018 meeting is still horrendous and at times barely audible (start at about the 38:40 and listen for a couple of minutes).

This is not a good reflection of the Village of Chatham and certainly not a good reflection on the vendor, “Sundown One.” We are not sure whose responsibility the sound is, but when we initially contacted the Vendor, they told us that no one from the village had told them there were any problems with the audio. There obviously is, and the village needs to inform the vendor if they haven’t already.


After fielding several complaints about the quality of meeting videos after the village of Chatham spent more than $27,000 on them, we looked at the situation.

Trustee Ryan Mann was apparently one of the officials who reviewed the bids, and the resulting winner was “Sundown One” out of Springfield, Illinois. Their bid was just shy of $25,000, with the village also paying an annual subscription fee of around $2880 to “Livestream” to process the videos and post them to YouTube.

According to Sundown One, they have not been notified of any problems with the audio or video of the meetings since installation of the new system.


Any answers Ryan Mann? Other trustees? Village manager?

We look at this as a failure of the village to notify the vendor, and not the failure of the products/service provided.

Your failure to notify the vendor can only mean you are happy that citizens cannot listen to the meetings.

For the money spent, citizens should have expected improved performance over the cheap webcam/laptop live YouTube videos previously used by Chatham. The opposite happened…it got worse…

Here is a sampling of the old system from December 2017 (click here), and we agree that it is pretty bad, however, you can actually understand what is being said.

Here are samples after spending over $27,000 (click for Feb 2018 and March 2018), both of which are nearly unintelligible.

Add to that, the “accidental” deletion of the second meeting in March 2018, where we have fielded complaints of an illegal meeting-after-the-meeting inadvertently caught on the livestream when they forgot to shut it off, which was later “accidentally” deleted by someone at the village of Chatham.

We did notice, when reviewing the winning bid, that there was a lifetime warrantee on the “labor and installation” of products, however, no guarantee of the “use” or “quality” of the resulting video/audio. We hope, that once notified by the village that there are problems, this company will get things running smoothly without further charge to the village, and in time for the village’s next regularly scheduled meeting.

Citizens of Chatham deserve more than what they have received so far.

Sundown One responded to our inquiry and stated that they were not aware of any problems and if notified by the village they would respond to the village’s notification.

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  • Bob Judd
    Posted at 14:44h, 05 April

    John Kraft; Not sticking up for the Village Administration, but I suspect that Sundown One may not have been completely honest with you about the Village not contacting them about having problems with the sound.. I am not positive though.. I base my statement on my experience of trying to get on a previous meeting’s Youtube Recording during the daytime a couple days after a Meeting.. Instead of a recording I actually caught a livestream of the Village Manager and another person that (I assumed was from Sundown One ) trying to fix the sound.. After reading your article, I (now) wonder just who that other man was that was helping Pat McCarthy working on the sound system..
    I remember telling Darlene that the person from Sundown One sounded as dumb about sound systems as Village Manager Pat McCarthy..
    It is possible that he may have been just another village employee, or a friend of Pats..
    Bob Judd

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 15:01h, 05 April

      I understand what you are saying, but I quoted how Sundown One replied to my email – that they we not aware of any problems and the village has not contacted them.

      The village might want to address this at the next meeting.

      Here is their email:

  • Bob Judd
    Posted at 16:56h, 05 April

    John Kraft; I wasn’t doubting you about the information you said you got from Sundown One. ALSO.. Now that I began to reflect back on the day I watched the 2 guys working on the sound, I do not believe the man doing the sound check with the Village Manager was with Sundown One.. That is because I started remembering what the 2 guys were saying as they worked on the system and they [both] acted like they knew nothing about microphones or sound systems..

  • Alex Foster
    Posted at 17:28h, 05 April

    Let’s correct the record and clear up a simple misunderstanding.

    We were asked about whether we were aware of the issues with “the last 2 or 3 Village board meetings” (see e-mail) — not whether we were “notified of any problems…since installation of the new system” (see article). As we are not aware of the frequency of meetings — we know they have monthly meetings, but for all we know, they might have other meetings as well — and as we have not been contacted for several weeks (and had fixed the issues since speaking with them last), we responded that we were not aware of any issues. Perhaps we should have said “current issues”.

    They have contacted us before, and we have fixed those issues. If you watch the December recording, followed by the February recording, followed by the March recording, you will note the audio/video improving drastically between the recordings of December (before the new system was installed) and February (after the new system was installed), except for a ground hum in the February recording, which goes away in the March recording (after we were told about the issue and we fixed it). You will note in the March recording that Pat and one other gentleman sound perfectly clear, whereas some of the other people do not. The mics will only pick up sound if spoken into directly — this is by design, so that ambient sounds are not picked up, as to make the sound clearer and with minimal distortion. With a little time and practice, everyone will get on the same page.

    We stand behind the products we sell and our installation, and we will always make sure that if you buy from us, that you are satisfied. The Village of Chatham has done a good job of making sure their investment works as it should, and we are happy to work with them. It will take time for everyone to get acclimated to the new system — there will be bugs (like accidental deletions) — but fast forward several months from now, and everyone should be happy.

    Stay tuned for this Tuesday’s meeting and see if your concerns are assuaged.

    Alex Foster
    Sundown One

  • Bob Judd
    Posted at 22:52h, 05 April

    John; The letter seems to me to be a case of CYA because they probably got a call from the Village after seeing your first letter on Citizens Microphone..
    They claim (in this letter) they had fixed the problem except for a ground hum in the February recording, which goes away in the March recording (after wet(they) were told about the issue and we fixed it).
    That is not really accurate. The Recordings have never sounded good.. Ever..
    He was accurate about one thing though. None of the Trustees, Mayor, Attorney, or Pat McCarthy talk into the microphones.. That may be because according to the Specs (if I recall correctly) the Gooseneck Mics are only the 12 in. length Gooseneck mics [and] to make matters worse the installers bolted them to the dais instead of using desktop mic stands so they could be pulled in closer to the speakers .. The Gooseneck mics can be purchased in 12” – 15” – or 25” lengths .. At least some brands of Mics like the Shure brand do. I would think that for $25,000, we could have at least got the longer lengths so they could reach the face of the people on the dais..
    That was not their only mistake on the sound system but I wont bother you with them.
    Thanks you.
    Bob Judd

  • Bob Judd Chatham
    Posted at 22:55h, 05 April

    John; Perhaps you should Post that letter on the Citizens Microphone.. The Mayor Dave Kimsey checks out every Post..

  • Darlene Judd
    Posted at 13:30h, 27 April

    The village spent an additional $599.99 (70v amp) it is much better but not perfect.