Town board and committee meetings will be conducted on-line
Governor Baker has issued an executive order temporarily suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law (https://www.mass.gov/doc/order-suspending-certain-provision-of-open-meeting-law/download). Briefly summarized, the changes are:
Open Meetings are not required to be held in a public place, physically accessible to the public, as long as "adequate alternate means of access" are provided. Alternate means include telephone, Internet, audio or video conferencing that allow the public to follow along in real-time. If we are unable to provide real-time access due to financial hardship, we may instead post on our website a full and complete transcript or recording as soon as practicable. NOTE: If a particular law requires public participation (e.g., a public hearing), real-time access must be made available.
Members of a public body including the chair may all participate in the meeting remotely. A physical quorum in one location is not required.
If a meeting is going to be held remotely, any party entitled or required to appear before the body (such as a permit applicant) must be able to participate remotely just like a board member.
The Plainfield selectboard has suggested that boards and committees cancel or postpone meetings if possible. Nonetheless, we must be able to continue to conduct business, and there will be cases where we have to move forward with a board meeting in a timely fashion.
These meetings will be conducted remotely using Google Hangouts Meet. You can access this from a computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or dialing in by telephone. If you are not yet on broadband, you may want to use the telephone option.
Each meeting should have information on the town website calendar on how to join remotely.
Click on Join Hangouts Meet if you are already on broadband. If you are not on broadband yet, dial the phone number and enter the PIN when requested.
If you use Hangouts Meet, it should open on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The first time you do this on a smartphone or tablet, you may be prompted to install the free Hangouts App from Google, so you may want to do a practice meeting ahead of time. You will also be asked for permission to access your camera and microphone.
Once you have Meet started, you will see yourself first, so you have a chance to make yourself look presentable. As a member of the public, feel free to mute your microphone and camera before joining. When you are ready, click Join Now to enter the conference.
When all participants are present, the chair will start by informing everyone that this meeting will be recorded, and asking the meeting organizer to mute the microphones of members of the public and to start recording.
At that point, the chair will call the meeting to order and conduct the meeting.
If the chair asks for questions, you will need to unmute your microphone before speaking, by clicking on the microphone icon. If you are on the telephone, dial *6 to unmute your microphone.
At the end of the meeting, AFTER it has been adjourned, the chair will ask the meeting organizer to stop recording.
Click the little red telephone handset to hangup and leave the conference.
Posted: to General News on Tue, Mar 17, 2020
Updated: Tue, Mar 17, 2020