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Concord will start all-online public meetings on Monday

  • Concord City Hall

Monitor staff
Published: 3/29/2020 3:36:05 PM

The city of Concord is moving its public meetings online using the Zoom software package starting Monday, and they have one worry that will resonate with anybody who has been on a conference call.

“The public will be afforded opportunities to ask questions during the public hearing phase of these meetings by use of the Zoom platform chat function or by telephone, although the latter will likely be more challenging to manage depending on the number of audience members and their adherence to muting their phones when not seeking to speak,” wrote Deputy City Manager Carlos Baia. His email came in response to a Monitor query about how public meetings will be run in the era of COVID-19 social distancing.

So mute your phones, folks. Or better yet, use email.

“In light of the fact that this will be Concord’s first time using this technology for such a public meeting, we are encouraging anyone from the public to submit written questions and testimony prior to the meeting to ensure that we capture all input,” Baia wrote.

The all-online system will be used starting with Monday’s Planning Board meeting and Tuesday’s Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting. Concord will post meeting call-in numbers and website links in its public notices, which will also appear on the city’s website. 

People who dial in on a phone can hear deliberations.  Those who log into the virtual meeting through Zoom can also see any plans and documents presented to the board, as well as see those board members who choose to use their device cameras. 

“We are also in discussion with Concord TV to see if they can livestream these meetings on their government public access channel.  This detail has not yet been confirmed but everyone is trying to their best to make these meetings available to the widest possible audience,” Baia added.

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