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Letter to the Editor: Electronic Attendance at PZC Meetings

A Shelton resident questions the policy of city officials to be present at meetings via phone conference or Skype.

The Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has allowed members and their consultant to participate in meetings where they are not physically present.

Is there a P&Z policy regarding input from the public by electronic means, and if so, what is it? Is there a written policy regarding electronic attendance at P&Z meetings, subcommittee meetings and public hearings?

The P&Z members are elected officials who represent the taxpayers and the general public. What is the stance of the P&Z as it pertains to granting the general public the same opportunities to address the P&Z as its members and consultant have? P&Z members who are unable to physically attend or are on vacation are allowed to attend meetings by electronic means. The general public should have this same right.

--Richard Widomski

Jo Ann Roeter November 27, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Richard is absolutely correct. I'm sure the people in the community would like to be better informed and be able to participate more in the governance of our city. And this would be an excellent opportunity to open up those meetings to everyone and offer their input.
Susan November 27, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Although I agree that the residents of Shelton would like to be informed and participatory in the governance of the city, I think that attendance via phone or electronic means is usually reserved for voting members of a committee.
Nancy Steiner November 27, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Although at first thought, it might seem a good idea, I actually experienced a P&Z meeting with this "electronic attendance" and we (the public) couldn't really hear what the absent parties were saying, and when I tried speaking during the public portion, the absent parties, by their responses, couldn't really make out what I was saying. It was most frustrating and unsatisfactory. This electronic process does not serve the public. Unless there is a tremendous improvement of the whole electronic system, I think face-to-face is more successful. P.S. And how far would we go with this??.....how about EVERYBODY absent and just a mass of electronic components on the table? Also, pretty difficult for anyone presenting graphics, photos or presentations to show this information to a voice on the wire.
Terry November 27, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I think that if the P&Z officials want to be on the P&Z, they should expect to be required to attend meetings, not phone it in when it comes to the welfare of Shelton residents. This is a bit off-topic, but I'm concerned about the new People's bank going in across from St. Lawrence Church. At the rate banks open and close branches (I just got word that T.D. Bank will leave Huntington Center in February), how soon will it be before People's gives way to a Kentucky Fried Chicken?

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