The Superior City Council is changing the way it conducts business in the wake of the pandemic.
After months of gathering on Google Meet or Zoom, and calling in to attend because of the declared emergency, Mayor Jim Paine proposed alterations to the ordinance that allows councilors to participate by phone when they can’t be physically present during a meeting.
With most councilors in chambers Wednesday, April 7, the council approved amending the ordinance to allow for audio or videoconference participation, eliminate a requirement for council president authorization and extends the privilege to committee as well as the regular council meetings with 24 hours notice to the City Clerk's Office.
It does not eliminate the requirement that most city councilors must be physically present in order to conduct the meeting. And it allows committee chairs to appoint voting privileges to committee alternate members when they are physically present and a regular committee member is not.
If a quorum cannot be achieved by the members physically present for a meeting, the meeting won’t be held. Virtual attendance would not be allowed in instances where the council or a committee are serving as quasi-judicial body.
Paine said the goal of the changes to the ordinance is to allow councilors to participate by whatever technology is available.
“A meeting is different when you’re not there,” Paine said three weeks ago, when he introduced the ordinance to the council’s committee of the whole. “There’s a lot of value to both the individual member, to the body and to the public as a whole to actually, physically attend the meeting. Of course, you see and hear the meeting better. There’s a certain amount lost when you attend virtually.”