Sunday, September 23, 2012

"remote participation is not widespread"

The new Open meeting Law for MA provides for remote participation for members of the board or committee that is conducting the 'open meeting'. Franklin has approved remote participation for the Town Council and School Committee. The Milford Daily News article provides a review of the communities that have allowed this kind of participation.
"It was unbelievable," Mercer recalled this week, of joining his fellow councilors via a Skype phone while traveling in China last spring for work. "It was like I was sitting in the room. I could hear the audience speak and could hear everything." 
Thanks to changes to the state Open Meeting Law that allow remote participation under certain circumstances, board members such as Mercer can join in on discussions even if they are away on business.
There are time when the remote participation works well, there are times when technology impedes the process too. There are times when you just have to be there.

I have participated in hundreds of meetings reporting on Franklin business. Many of those I could easily have watched via the broadcast. There are times when the discussion is such that it is a great thing to be there. You can ensure that your question gets asked either publicly or in the followup after the meeting.

Read more:

To review the full open meeting law, you can visit the MA Attorney General's webpage

There is a guide that is very readable on the do's and don'ts

If you think there is a violation of the open meeting law, there is a complaint process to follow

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