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Copy of letter I'm sending to the Governor and State Legislators follows. Members of public bodies who are sick or out of town should be able to vote via zoom. Citizens should be able to testify at public hearings from their homes
Governor Cuomo recently directed that all meetings of municipal Boards be held at the municipal buildings -ending zoom meetings of legislative bodies.
I would like to request that state law enable members of a public body (Town Board, Zoning Board, Planning Board, Conservation Advisory Board, School Board, etc...) be able to count for a quorum and vote via zoom if they are unable to participate in a meeting due to illness or because they are out of town. We all participated via teleconferencing during the pandemic.
A hybrid meeting of public bodies where some members can be present at Town Hall and some participate via zoom would enable Boards that depend on volunteers not to have problems obtaining quorums. Members of different Boards who have health issues could still participate and vote from the convenience and safety of their homes. In the past some members of different boards who felt a little sick (coughs, colds) still showed up to meetings creating health concerns for others - something that should be strongly discouraged. Many public officials take their jobs seriously and don't want to miss a vote. If officials can participate by zoom and if they are not feeling that great they could still have their votes counted.
I also believe that it is important to allow citizens to participate in public hearings via zoom or teleconferencing. During the pandemic citizen participation increased because of the convenience of allowing residents to express themselves from the convenience of their homes.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor