John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Incorporating Zoom Into Live BOS Meetings

Incorporating Zoom Into Live BOS Meetings

An important mission of the Newtown Township Technology and Communications Committee (TC&C) is to improve communications between the Township and its residents through the use of technology.

At a recent TC&C meeting, I was asked to provide some examples of how other townships use technology to improve communications with residents. To answer that I posted "Some Ideas for Improving Township Communications with Residents," which includes a comparison of how local municipalities use social media compared to Newtown.

Today I visited the Doylestown Township website to find out more about the passage of a resolution recognizing Juneteenth; i.e., June 19, which is on a Saturday this year. I did not find the resolution, but I did view the webast of the May 4, 2021, regular meeting of the Doylestown BOS during which the resolution was passed.

Doylestown's webcasts of BOS meetings show how technology can improve communication between supervisors and residents. The May 4 meeting was interesting to me not just because of the Juneteenth resolution, which I have yet to find, but because it demonstrates that live meetings can include participation by residents via Zoom as well as in person. See the screen shots below:

In addition to showing the agenda below the video of the BOS speakers, the
Doylestown webcast is capable of a split screen, which is shown here, where
a speaker at the podium is shown side-by-side with the BOS chair person.
It's a nice-to-have feature but not something necessary to have.
What is really interesting is that residents can participate in the meeting via Zoom
as well as in person and the Zoom screen/video is included seemlessly into
the webcast!

At recent Newtown Township BOS meetings, one or another supervisor has asked when live meetings will return. So far, no specific date has been set, but I have already commented that when live BOS meetings return - which may be after Memorial Day - I hope that somehow we can include participation by residents via Zoom. So far, however, no one has discussed how the township can implement that with the archaic system it has in place. Unfortunately, the May meeting of the TC&C has been cancelled because it was scheduled for Monday, May 31 - i.e., Memorial Day! I hope, however, to bring this up again at the next BOS meeting.

P.S. If you would like to help us implement better technology-enabled resident communications in Newtown, please consider joining the Technology and Communications Committee. It’s difficult to achieve a quorum with only 4 members currently. The TC&C meets only once per month via Zoom.

If you are interested in serving, please submit a letter of interest and resume to Olivia Kivenko, Newtown Township, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940, by email to oliviak@newtownpa.gov 

Posted on 06 May 2021, 01:38 - Category: Communication

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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