Attendance in person
The responses to the five part mini questionnaire for selectboard candidates are in! Thank you to the candidates for participating. This post contains the responses to Part 1 by the Selectboard candidates running for the 2-year seat. Responses to Part 1 by candidates for the 3-year seat are here.
1. The Valley News published a column by Jim Kenyon on January 28, 2018 about Selectboard members attending meetings via video chat. Some Norwich residents prefer in person attendance by public officials, even though electronic attendance is allowed by statute. Question: Absent unforeseen circumstances, do you plan to attend in person all or almost all regular and special Selectboard meetings?
I absolutely plan on attending in person. Having said that, I think when a member needs to attend remotely, we should look at how we can improve remote access. We also need to acknowledge that people take vacations (and should probably take more), travel for business, and have personal emergencies. In my opinion, attending remotely is better than not attending at all.
I have been around long enough to remember board members who missed more meetings than they attended. The commitment shown by joining electronically is far superior to skipping the meetings entirely. Other than the occasional vacation, I have few reasons to miss attending meetings.
I believe in-person attendance is important for public officials and, if elected, I plan to attend in person as much as possible (and that may be all the time). I also support the use of tele/video conferencing. I work with tele/video conferencing as part of my job and think when done well with proper tools and guidelines, this can be a resource that bridges obstacles and continues momentum. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider as Jim Kenyon’s column presents.