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 firstname.lastname@example.org between
8am-5pm on the day of the meeting. In the subject line include, Testimony:
“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.