For Immediate ReleaseMarch 27, 2020
Considering public health emergency, residents may share thoughts online
San Rafael, CA – In response to the local shelter-in-place order, the County of Marin is making it easier for resident participation at its Board of Supervisors meetings during the COVID-19 emergency with a new online option for remote participation.
The County tested an e-commenting tool and will offer it for the first time at the March 31 Board meeting. All comments received during the meeting will be read aloud to the Board until Board President Katie Rice closes the public comment period and moves on to the next agenda item.
The tool can be found on the Board’s webpage for agendas, archives, and staff reports. The e-commenting link is located next to the agenda and allows for residents to comment on a specific agenda item.
“This a way for us to support residents’ adherence to the shelter-in-place order, but still offer them a way to participate in our meetings,” Rice said. “Like other jurisdictions we are trying to find ways to conduct County business as transparently and inclusively as possible. We will treat this as an experiment, see how it goes, and make further adjustments as needed.”
E-comment participants need to create a free login and password before posting. Take note during the registration process that a confirmation email from Granicus could land in the new registrant’s junkmail inbox.
During the COVID-19 emergency, governments all over the country are adjusting to new challenges in meeting participation and compliance with laws that protect informational transparency and public participation in municipal decision-making. Recent action by Governor Gavin Newsom allows public agencies more electronic flexibility in how they conduct meetings during the shelter-in-place order.
The County’s Clerk of the Board worked with Granicus, its vendor for the online Board agendas and video archiving of Board meetings, to install the e-commenting platform.
This is how the feature works:
The Board plans to continue holding its regular public meetings during the COVID-19 emergency so it can conduct essential government business. The Board chamber at the Civic Center in San Rafael (Suite 330) has 177 permanent seats for the public and a maximum room capacity of 200. It will be open to the public during meetings. Given the shelter-in-place order and social distancing recommendations, residents are encouraged to use one of the electronic options rather than attending in person. Members of large advocacy groups who would like to comment on an agenda item should consider commenting in writing or sending one spokesperson to speak on behalf of the group.
Board meetings are streamed live on the County website and are available for archived viewing on the same webpage the next day. For Comcast TV subscribers, the meetings generally are shown live and in reruns on Channel 27 through partnerships with the Community Media Center of Marin and Novato Community Television.
Check the Marin HHS webpage for more information about local COVID-19 developments.
Diane PattersonAssistant Clerk of the BoardBoard of Supervisors
Marin County Civic Center3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 329San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7331CRS Dial 711Email: Diane Pattersonwww.marincounty.org/bos