On February 17, South Whitehall Township's Board of Commissioners blocked over 100 members of the public from commenting during their regularly scheduled meeting. They were able to do this with impunity because it was a virtual meeting. I understand there's a pandemic. I completely agree that social distancing and masks are necessary. But this is now becoming an excuse to deprive the public from participating in their government in any meaningful way. I believe it's time to allow the public to attend meetings in person, subject to social distancing and masks. The spillover can participate virtually.
In Northampton County, Council member John Cusick has urged an end to virtual meetings. He argues that if the courthouse is open to employees and public, so should meetings. If the county can conduct a capital murder case without issue, it should be able to conduct a council meeting. Council members should be present in person. In Northampton County, persons who desire access must be masked and social distance. They are temperature checked. An air purification system kills any and all viruses. If there is an overflow, they can watch the meeting in a separate room. This is what happened in a the Holmes murder case.
This disconnect between elected officials and the citizens they serve is bad government. Elected officials should be interacting personally with members of the administration and public.
Some municipalities are still closed to the public. That's ridiculous and needs to end.