Justin Silverman, Executive Director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, said many local boards have held remote meetings since March. The upside is it has made it easier and more convenient for more members of the public to attend meetings.
“The disadvantage is when that technology isn’t used correctly or if officials ignore the technology altogether and still exclude the public from these meetings,” he said. “What we have here is a great opportunity to open these meetings up to a much wider audience and increase participation because citizens can attend them without even leaving their home.”
Silverman said there is still a lot of value in the public meeting face-to-face with local representatives to ask questions. He said the hope of everyone should be to meet in person safely but also to have the technology in place for people to participate remotely, “because now, that is addressing everyone’s needs and making it possible for as many citizens to participate as possible.” [...]