With the June 15, 2021 end of the state of emergency looming, remote Zoom meeting flexibilities are among the multitude of pandemic-era policies that lawmakers must decide.
There are many advantages for continuing livestreamed Zoom meetings and for keeping them permanently. Marion’s livestreamed Zoom meetings removed longstanding barriers to participation in policymaking for residents with disabilities, seniors who would not normally drive to the Town House at night, people with limited access to transportation, and people with work and family commitments that prevented them from attending board and committee meetings. Also, Marion’s board and committee members have the ability to join meetings remotely and the public has access to those meetings by internet and telephone.
Yes, technology does not always work perfectly and is not universally available to all, and I realize face-to-face interactions with constituents and the press are important to government transparency and accessibility, but this barrier can be overcome with a physical meeting location, where the public can view the meeting and participate in person.
In a post-pandemic world, the ability to tune in to a public meeting virtually benefits civic engagement.
Eileen J. Marum, Marion
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