Most Lancaster County municipal governments not streaming meetings since the pandemic
This article originally appeared in Lancaster Online on August 2 and was written by Jade Campos.
Below is advisory board chair of Common Cause Pennsylvania Christina Hartman’s comment on the benefits and drawbacks of hybrid remote access to public meetings.
Lancaster County municipalities that quit streaming their meetings aren’t alone. Christina Hartman, advisory board chair of Common Cause PA, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group focused on improving government transparency, said most governments across the state are refocusing on in-person gatherings.
Hartman said she believes there are more pros to virtual meetings than cons. If streaming was already in place, why take it away? There are a lot of barriers that could prevent people from accessing local meetings, she said, and remote options are the easiest way to engage people.
“There are lots of reasons why people may not be able to make those meetings in person,” Hartman said. “We want to be as inclusive as possible, because we know that when citizenry are not involved and engaged civically, things can happen that maybe folks aren’t big fans of. So, we need to make it as easy as possible for people to participate.”
Hartman said there’s still greater transparency in local government with amateur video than nothing at all. For example, the conference call option used by East Earl is a good “middle ground,” she said, if a municipality can’t use something more high tech.
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