The good news is that Hudson officials want to figure out how the city will provide other avenues of access to meetings now that all of its sessions will be held in person and for public attendance. Common Council meetings will have audio streaming, so now the challenge will be getting other city boards to work out ways to provide remote access.
Common Council President Thomas DePietro said Tuesday he was stunned to hear the change was enacted the same day the city learned of it. DePietro will continue to stream Common Council meetings on WGXC, as will the Conservation Advisory Council and Tourism Board meetings, which are creations of the council. The city plans to resume the open system in operation before the pandemic. In-person meetings with live stream on the radio should go beyond open meetings rules. To open access further, DePietro is looking into how to incorporate video streaming.
Hudson Development Corporation President Robert Rasner said Tuesday his board plans to continue meeting virtually for now because the air conditioner in its 1 North Front St. meeting room is broken. But the board may not be allowed to continue to meet on Zoom, according to the June 23 guidance change. The HDC board does not have the capacity to stream its meetings live when it meets in person. DePietro, an ex-officio member, said he is open to streaming the HDC board meetings on WGXC.
Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Phil Forman said Tuesday he is trying to find a way to stream the commission’s in-person meetings. The Zoom format was good for public participation and gave the committee the ability to share its plans and drawings with the public while they are being discussed. Forman’s only problem is lacking the ability to hold a live meeting and Zoom simultaneously.
It’s promising to see Hudson’s top leaders holding the city — and themselves — to higher standards of transparency. But they must match them with the technological expertise to open the borders even wider and coach residents on the resources available to find out what is going on in their city. As the mantra of the pandemic went, we’re all in this together.