Charter Commission Vice Chair Mandi Jo Hanneke before Select Board
Charter Commission Vice Chair Mandy Jo Hanneke received a rather cool reception Monday night from the Amherst Select Board, keepers of the public way and guardians of "remote participation."
Unlike the Regional School Committee that adopted the common sense practice almost two years ago the Select Board looked at it four years ago when technology was perhaps not as reliable and never formally adopted the measure.
Amilcar Shabazz remotely peering over Maria Geryk's shoulder February, 2015
And without Select Board approval no boards or committees are allowed to grant any member who can't make a meeting due to illness or geographic distance the courtesy of Skype, Facetime or simple long-distance speaker phone participation.
Ms. Hanneke threw in everything but the kitchen sink telling SB that maybe more people would volunteer for these boards and committees if remote participation was available, while pointing out the (18 month) "extremely condensed timeline" the Charter Commission has for coming up with a new form of government.
And although the 7 meetings so far have had perfect attendance of all nine commissioners, the next six meetings scheduled over the summer will not.
The Select Board decided to task Temporary Town Manager Pete Hechenbleikner with coming up with a research "white paper" on remote participation to present at their July 18th meeting.
And he will, of course, have to do it in person.
Library Trustee Carol Gray, looking like a zombie, peeks in to a Jones Library Trustees meeting from Egypt courtesy of Skype on Mary Streeter's mac laptop five years ago