The NP&EDC Should Stop Holding Zoom-Only Meetings

Katherine Murphy •

To the editor: Piggybacking Charity Benz’s recent letter, I completely agree with her sentiment that we deserve “better” from our elected and appointed officials.

To this point, I am questioning why some of our boards and commissions continue to hold Zoom-only public meetings. I realize this procedure came about during the Pandemic, making sense for that time and place, but it’s no longer necessary. God forbid, should the need arise again, it’s easy enough to return to the Zoom-only format.

Kudos to our Select Board and the like that hold hybrid meetings, instead of only holding public meetings via Zoom, allowing us to attend in person. Zoom meetings only serve to stifle public comment as so many people aren’t conversant, or comfortable, with this technology and also when “technical difficulties” arise and “raised hands”, for making public comment, aren’t seen and the public comment goes unrecognized and unheard. This only serves to thwart our democratic process.

Since the NP&EDC meeting scheduled for next Monday, March 25th, has an inordinate degree of public interest doesn’t it make sense that it be held as a hybrid meeting, instead of only being conducted via Zoom? The NP&EDC is one of the few town boards or commissions that continue to meet remotely every meeting, thus limiting public participation, and this isn’t in the best interests of the town, our community, or Democracy to continue this practice. Public access, through in person attendance, to all board and commission meetings is in the best of interests of all Nantucketers.

Should the question or suggestion of a hybrid meeting for the NP&EDC’s March 25th meeting be brought up during the public comment portion of the Select Board’s meeting later today, there is still more than sufficient time to post this meeting in the required Agenda posting.

I am hopeful that the NP&EDC, recognizing the need for transparency, will pro-actively change its meeting format to hybrid instead of Zoom only…not just for its next meeting on March 25th but for all future meetings. Barring that happening, perhaps someone will attend today’s Select Board meeting and graciously, but forthrightly, suggest the NP&EDC needs to change its meeting format to hybrid at least for its March 25th meeting.

Katherine (Kit) Murphy 

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