At their meeting on Monday, April 17, the 230-member Representative Town Meeting will take up a request from RTM District 11 to eliminate the “hybrid” option which allows members choose whether to attend full meetings in-person or remotely via Zoom.
The remote option came into play during the pandemic beginning in April of 2020 and the RTM has conducted its meetings on a hybrid basis since May of 2021.
According the the proposed resolution, which is item 12 on the Call, “Many participants have found that the conduct of hybrid meetings of the full RTM adds delay, significant additional work for Town employees, RTM officers, and added expense, while often resulting in frustrating outcomes for both in-person and remote participants.”
The resolution proposes to implement the change to full RTM meetings as of June 1, 2023, with no further “hybrid” option for any member, “except as otherwise approved by the Moderator or RTM.”
The resolution would expressly exclude RTM committee or district meetings.
On Friday morning on his WGCH radio show, First Selectman Fred Camillo said if it was his call he would keep the remote option for people who have a very specific purposes and excuses that could be verified.
“Otherwise you’ll have people just staying home if they don’t feel like going there,” he said. “If you have the legislator who was elected home, it’s a bad look.”
“People sometimes have issues, whether it’s health or a family emergency. Those should be considered. I’d love to see them keep it for that, but it would have to be narrowly drawn, but certainly something has to be done because you’ll get people just not feeling like going out, which happens to all of us, and then they’ll stay home. It’s not fair to the process.”
Meanwhile the Board of Selectmen have been holding hybrid meetings, though they only have three members and typically don’t have more than a couple dozen attendees.
Planning and Zoning, which typically meets twice a month on Tuesdays, has no plans to return to in-person meetings. With meetings starting at 4:00pm and frequently running eight or more hours, the all-remote meetings have been appreciated by most people. P&Z meets meet this Tuesday, April 18 via Zoom.
The Board of Education continues to hold hybrid meetings, with the next meeting this Thursday, April 20. Also their meetings are typically available the next day on their YouTube channel.
The BET has gotten some flack for not offering a Zoom options for their public hearings on the budget. Instead, viewers have been asked to watch live on Greenwich community Television channels 24 (Verizon), 79 (Optimum) and GCTV Youtube live, which has meant only those attending in person can comment.