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Contact Info 90 West Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43215
614-645-7380

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First-ever Council Meeting with Members Voting Remotely

Public Comments Accepted Via Email and Fax 

Columbus, OH -- During Council’s, March 16, 2020, meeting some members will participate virtually using the WebEx video platform. Public comments to be accepted by email.

“Remote work is a critical way to limit community spread,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “That’s why we have Councilmembers teleconferencing into this meeting for the first time. The work of the City of Columbus cannot stop.”

In a memo issued by Auditor David Yost, he clarifies how government entities can meet the Ohio Revised Code Open Meetings Act. The memo states the statute does not contain an exception to the “in-person” requirement during a time of declared emergency. R.C. 121.22(C).  

Yost also noted, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has supervisory authority over “all matters relating to the preservation of the life and health of the people.” R.C. 3703.13. It further provides that ODH shall “have ultimate authority in matters of quarantine and isolation.

“Direction from the State of Ohio is clear – no mass gatherings,” said Hardin. “The question now is how. We are leaning on technology to accomplish this task.”

To conduct an official meeting, a quorum must still be present, whether in person, on the phone, or in some combination thereof. If a member chooses to appear via teleconference or telephone, all other requirements of the Open Meetings Act must be fulfilled. 

The public is encouraged to watch the Council meetings online. Residents who wish to comment on agenda items can submit speaker slips via fax at (614) 645-7399, or email cityclerkrequests@columbus.gov between 8am-5pm on the day of the meeting. In the subject line include, Testimony: Ordinance ####-2020.”

“We are working to remain open and transparent with City business while prioritizing public safety. As we continue on this journey, let’s be deliberate and steadfast in our commitment to responsible and responsive governing,” Hardin continued.

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