As you know, I have a strong preference for in person meetings. However I also have to protect this Town and to make decisions based on data. We are dealing with a major resurgence of COVID-19. A lot of people are getting sick or dying.
Tuesday, December 8th will be a hybrid SelectBoard meeting as planned.
HOWEVER until further notice, all future Select Board meetings are going to be via teleconference. Warrants will be emailed, voted over the phone, and then I will sign paper copies the next day as I have been authorized to do. I am making this decision as the Chairman of this Board as I believe it is my prerogative to do.
While I believe every Town Board or Committee has the right to make its own decisions, I am strongly recommending that in person meetings be restricted to necessity (ex. need for original documents or sensitive/confidential subject matters) across Town government and, when possible, limited to 5 people or less in total.
I don’t enjoy making this decision and I think you all know that, but I am doing it based on my best judgment, given the situation, the fact that a lot of our key people are in the high risk category, and the practical consideration that having just one infection in that room could effectively take this Town’s entire upper echelon of leadership out of action for an extended period of time. Our people are our most important asset. This will also help conserve in terms of supplies and cleaning and, if we’re meeting from home, we’ll have the added benefit of not needing to wear facial coverings.
I will also be recommending elevating the restriction on access to town hall during office hours, not to totally prevent public access, but to reinforce that it is on a by-appointment true necessity basis with staff discretion. I fully trust staff will be fair in applying such discretion.
If the numbers draw back down or the vaccine becomes sufficiently available, we may reconsider this position.
Thank you and stay safe.
Hussain A. Hamdan