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Towns can now decide on in-person, hybrid or remote meetings

A bill about how to conduct meetings post-public emergency declaration failed to come up for a vote in the General Assembly before the session ended, but language was included in the budget implementer.  It allows for fully remote, hybrid or in-person meetings. 

Every elected board and commission can make their own decision on how to meet.  New Fairfield First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says there's been some suggestion that the Selectmen could set the policy for appointed boards and commissions. 

If a member of the public requests it, within 24 hours of a remote meeting, the town must provide a physical location and electronic equipment if they didn't have access to that equipment themselves.  Del Monaco says previous interpretations by the Freedom of Information Commission note that meetings can be held by phone and telephone is included in the definition of electronic equipment. 

The bill also speaks to interruption in service if the signal drops and provides more detail than included in the executive orders.  Del Monaco notes that it also adds some documentation requested by the FOI Commission.  There is also a 48 hour notice requirement for all remote meetings among other subtle differences.

Del Monaco says it would be a $20,000 investment to outfit the Senior Center Community Room with the necessary equipment to do hybrid meetings.

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Dave Rinelli

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