Selectmen OK remote participation for meetings

By Georgia Sparling | Feb 28, 2017

Mattapoisett — Committee and board members in Mattapoisett will now be able to attend meetings remotely, following a vote from Selectmen on Tuesday.

The Commonwealth allows remote participation as long as the reason is due to “personal illness, personal disability, emergency, military service or geographic distance.” A quorum must still be physically present at the meeting.

One concern voiced by Selectman Paul Silva was that the provision would allow snowbirds to avoid being present in meetings for months at a time. After thinking about it, however, he said it might not make much difference.

But to encourage participation in person, Selectmen voted that appointed committees and boards allow members to attend remotely for only two consecutive meetings.

“I think putting a restriction is a prudent thing to do,” Selectman Jordan Collyer said.

After two misses, that board would need to speak with Selectmen before a member could be allowed further absences. Boards with elected members are not bound by the rule, but can still attend meetings remotely.

The state has a list of approved devices that can be used for remote participation in meetings.

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