Virtual meetings are now acceptable forms of governing, and happy hours, in Denver

The city council just OK’d an emergency measure that allows members to meet without sharing a room.

The City and County Building lit up green for Veteran’s Day. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The City and County Building lit up green for Veteran’s Day. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photos

The Denver City Council does a lot of things big and little to keep the city running and changing, and at least some of that stuff will continue, even if the meetings are held over Zoom and not the palatial council chambers at city hall.

No weekly Monday legislative meetings have been canceled yet, but if and when they are, council members will be able to vote for or against city laws and multimillion-dollar contracts remotely, whether it’s via an online meeting platform, a phone “or by other means of communication,” according to the emergency rule of procedure.

Council members passed the measure 9 to 0 Monday.

The rules don’t apply to public hearings, but those hearings and the decisions attached to them have been postponed since the mayor declared a state of emergency due to the novel cornavirus. The measure makes room for public participation once the tech component is solved.

“There are some technology issues that need to be resolved because the meetings would still have to be open and public and everything,” Council President Jolon Clark told Denverite.

Council is exploring Zoom, an online video platform used by businesses, as one option. Ideally, the video chat would feed directly into the broadcast for anyone watching online or on TV, Clark said.

Whether these measures become commonplace “depends on what happens every hour and every day,” Clark said.

 

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