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Parkersburg council temporarily switches to virtual-only meetings

(WTAP)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 4:12 PM EDT
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UPDATE: 5/15/20 7 P.M.

Parkersburg City Council will conduct its meetings virtually until West Virginia's governor lifts a state-of-emergency declared at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a special meeting held Friday afternoon, council members voted 7-1 in favor of a resolution that allows meetings to be conducted solely online and live-streamed on YouTube via Microsoft Teams. It was the only item on the meeting’s agenda.

Councilman Jeff Fox cast the only no vote. He said he understands the need for public safeguards during the pandemic but noted that other city councils in the Mountain State have continued to meet in person while also live-streaming their meetings in order to practice social distancing and follow other health guidelines.

While temporarily eliminating in-person meetings, the resolution allows members of the public to participate by sending an email to the city clerk expressing their concerns and requesting to be a part of the public- forum part of the meeting.

The email address is connie.shaffer@parkersburgwv.gov. More information is also available by calling 304-424-8442.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is May 19.


ORIGINAL STORY:

Parkersburg City Council will meet in special session Friday afternoon to consider a resolution limiting public access to council chambers until a state of emergency order is lifted by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

The meeting at 5 p.m. will be live-streamed on YouTube via Microsoft Teams.

According to the resolution, public seating to view all council and committee meetings would be available for up to four people in the second-floor executive conference room at the municipal building located at Market and 3rd streets.

In addition, members of the public would be able to participate in meetings by sending an email requesting to be a part of the “public forum” to the city clerk at connie.shaffer@parkersburgwv.gov or by calling the clerk’s office 304-424-8442.

Emails would be submitted to city council at the next regularly scheduled meeting and would become a part of the meeting’s public record.

The resolution says the restrictions would remain in effect until Justice lifts the state of emergency he declared at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The next regularly scheduled city council meetings are May 19, June 2 and June 23.

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