Coronavirus: River Region governments rethink the way they do business

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Like other societies, while maintaining the power of the government, elected officials are also struggling to cope with the requirements of crowd size and social distance.

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In this coronavirus era, city, town and county governments have adapted to hold meetings, and steps taken include rearranging furniture to restrict public attendance.

Elected officials have repeatedly changed demands on the size of the crowd and social distance, while keeping the government turning.

What is worrying is how the new way of doing things affects public visits and input.

Dennis Bailey, an attorney for the Alabama Press Association, said: “Among lawyers across the country, there has been extensive discussion about the use of certain governments as a means to restrict public access.” I don’t think this is a problem for the local government in the Montgomery area.

"But you must be careful to ensure that it is open to the public. Especially on conference calls. You must give the public access to the technology that the board uses to hold these meetings."

On Friday, May 1, 2020, Mayor Steven Reed (Steven Reed) prepares for his virtual town hall meeting at the Montgomery City Hall office in Alabama.

In Montgomery, city councillors also moved their work location from Dess.

The city’s spokesperson Griffith Waller said: “We have also integrated teleconferencing technology so that residents can make calls, listen to or share concerns.” “In addition, we have also worked with Mayor Steven Reed (Steven L. Reed) initiated the streaming city hall program on social media (mainly Facebook)."

Other steps have been taken.

"Although people can use the conference call option to interact with the board, we also allow people to attend the meeting in person," said Michael Bridle, director of news and external affairs. "However, they are only allowed to enter the auditorium of the agenda item they want to discuss, and we limit the number of non-city officials allowed to enter the meeting hall at one time.

"The efficiency is very high."

The local government has adjusted the meeting protocol in response to the coronavirus. At the meeting on Tuesday night, the Prattville City Council rearranged seats here to allow distance from society.

Before the special meeting on April 28, it had been 55 days since the Prattville City Council met in the Chamber. During this period, the board of directors did indeed meet twice by phone. A meeting gave city employees 80 hours of sick leave, just in case they were infected or exposed to the virus. Another meeting was to impose a curfew in the city.

The chairman of the Council, Albert Striplin, expressed frankness about the lack of face-to-face meetings.

Albert Spalling

He said: “I conducted an informal poll on the board of directors and it is clear that we do not have a quorum to conduct business.” He said that at least four members of the seven-member board must be present. "So, if there is no quorum, why are there meetings?"

The committee’s next regular business meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening. Will there be a meeting?

After the meeting was called, Slytherin said: "Now is the plan."

Council members expressed concern about security.

"District 3 and Chairman Pro-Tem Denise Brown said: "I am worried that we will not be able to separate the required 6 feet for social activities on dais. "It's really close there. When we ask our citizens to follow these requirements, as the governing body of Prattville, how can we not act on the governor's requirements for social distancing?

At the called meeting, and in the foreseeable future, the three members will sit on the board at the prescribed spacing, while the rest of the board will sit on two tables on the front floor, again at the prescribed spacing Play the game.

District 2 Councilman Marcus Jackson (Marcus Jackson) just returned from a national convention in early March, and he was worried about spreading the virus to others.

He said: "Of course I don't want to bring anything into the city hall, so that my city councillors, city employees or the public are exposed to any danger."

Everyone learned how to handle this situation, he continued.

He said: "We know a lot more now than we did six weeks ago." "As the seats change and measures are taken to separate people in the room, I think we are in better condition. I fully hope that we will resume normal meeting arrangements on Tuesday. "

At the April 21 meeting, Otaga County Sheriff Joe Sedinger (Joe Sedinger) appeared in the Otaga County Council Chamber. Many boards restrict public access to comply with collection guidelines of 10 or fewer personnel.

The Autauga County Council is only a short walk from the city hall and never missed any meetings. The commissioners are still sitting in regular seats. But the public is locked in the corridors, where they can see and hear the sounds inside. People with items on the agenda can enter when they call their names and withdraw back to the corridor after the problem is resolved.

Committee Chairman Jay Thompson said: “We ask the employees of the Sheriff’s Department to continue to work, and our Road Department and other employees continue to work.” “I think the important thing is that the Commissioner should also participate in the work. Only one month Two meetings."

Wetumpka also took technical steps to broadcast board meetings online. The committee also changed the seating arrangement to comply with social guidance guidelines.

Mayor Jerry Willis

Mayor Jerry Willis is in a different position than the mayors of the three counties. Due to the large population of Wetumpka, he served as the moderator of the committee and voted on the issues facing the committee. Other mayors are "invited guests" at council meetings and do not have the right to vote during the council process.

Willis said: "When there are city councils, mayors, city clerks, and lawyers in the conference hall, you will soon reach the limit of 10 people." "We have tried broadcasting the meeting via Facebook and online, but didn't have much luck. . We don’t have a sound system because when we meet in the conference hall, we don’t need a sound system.

"Hopefully we have resolved the issue for the Monday night meeting. We will abide by the governor's order while still being as transparent and open to the public as possible."

Mayor Al Kelley of Millbrook was just getting ready to get things back to normal. The seating arrangement of the council meeting hall has also been changed, and the working meetings for the meetings have been moved from the meeting room to the meeting hall to provide more space.

Mayor of Millbrook Al Kelley

He said: "We have never really had a lot of people in a meeting." "If something controversial, such as a request for annexation, may bring more people, then when we reach that bridge, we will cross that bridge. A bridge.

"But I hope the governor can relax some of these restrictions as soon as possible. I know I am ready to start returning to normal, no matter what happens after all this is normal."

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