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Chatham Town Board adopts virtual meeting law

Apr 11, 2022 12:45 am

Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Chatham Town board April 7, on a 3 to 2 vote, approved a local law to allow members to meet virtually from outside the town limits. The vote came after a public hearing on the proposal that same night. Under the measure, members of the board and its committees will be permitted to participate in meetings through video conferencing from locations outside of Chatham. Some residents did speak during the public hearing, expressing concerns about the proposed law. Former town board member John Wapner said that, in his opinion, the law was problematic because it opens up the possibility that a board member could be out of town for an unlimited amount of time and still keep their seat as an elected official. He suggested adding some kind of restriction limiting the number of times a board member could attend virtually from out of town. Resident Tom Ehrich said of the decision "...to stay within the virtual meeting environment is not a healthy one, ...In my opinion, democracy requires engagement." Cindy Bobseine, also a resident, said that while she liked the option of allowing the public to dial into town meetings, she feels strongly about town board members meeting together in person. New York State Public Officers law permits members to participate in meetings using video conferencing, but the existing Chatham town law requires board meetings to take place within the town limits. The new law will take effect after it has been filed with the New York Secretary of State. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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