Council discusses making meeting electronically a possibility in the future

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Tuesday evening, the Fort Wayne City Council voted 8:0 to move a bill out of the Regulations Committee that would establish “the policy by which members of the common council may participate by electronic means of communications.”

The bill would allow councilmembers to participate in meetings electronically with the following guidelines:

  • At least 50% of the members are physically present at the meeting
  • A member can attend two meetings via electronic communications but must attend in person before another set of virtual meetings
  • Must request to participate electronical no later than noon the day of the meeting to allow for time to set up the virtual methods

According to the bill, a member may not attend more than 50% of the meetings in a calendar year by electronic communications, unless they meet an exemption.

If a councilmember attends virtually, they are considered present for the purposes of establishing a quorum and can participate in final action only if the member is seen and heard. The bill said that votes where a councilmember is attending electronically must be taken via roll call.

According to the bill, no councilmember can participate by means of electronic communication for a meeting where final actions to:

  • Adopt a budget
  • Make a reduction in personnel
  • Initiate a referendum
  • Impose or increase a fee
  • Impose or increase a penalty
  • Exercise the council’s power of eminent domain
  • Establish impose raise or renew a tax

The bill also allows the public to “simultaneously attend and observe the meeting unless the meeting is an executive session.”

The final vote in the regular session will take place June 22.

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