In a shift from her previous position, Council President Joyce Watterman said this morning that she is “working on” implementing hybrid City Council meetings. In January, Watterman had responded tersely to the question saying “Meetings will be in person.”
The issue re-emerged on Wednesday when an overflow crowd, eager to weigh in on the fate of Councilperson Amy DeGise following her July 19 collision with cyclist Andrew Black, was forced to stand outside council chambers for an opportunity to speak. In the end, many of the 151 registered to share their thoughts did not end up speaking. A number of people who did speak, however, called for hybrid meetings.
This morning, blogger Amy Wilson, who had planned on staying to live-tweet, wrote “It was broiling hot, there was no seating, it was packed, and it was very hard to hear and understand what was going on. I lasted about an hour and eventually left.”
In January, the Jersey City Times broke the story that unlike Newark and Hoboken, Jersey City’s municipal council had no intention of allowing a virtual option for residents.
At the time, Marilyn Baer, communications manager for Hoboken, told the Jersey City Times that when in-person meetings resume, “[They] will have hybrid meetings, which will allow residents to attend council meetings virtually or in person.” Newark City Clerk Kenneth Louis told JCT that it was Brick City’s intention to offer a video simulcast of council meetings immediately upon return to their physical space and full audio-video participation as soon as they acquire the appropriate system.
This morning Ward F Councilman Frank Gilmore said he was unaware of plans to go hybrid but that “it [is] extremely important we do whatever to make this possible.”
Updated at 2:09 p.m. on 8.21.22