Commissioners are disenfranchising the public by removing Zoom option for meetings

| 14 Jun 2021 | 06:37

To the Editor:

This morning I went on the county website, and there was in a notice that stated clearly that the public would be able to attend the Board of Commissioners meeting via Zoom. I emailed Teri Lyons at the email address in the notice, which I’ve included a screen shot of here.

I was informed by Teri via reply email that a Zoom option would not be made available to the public, even though the county’s own website said it would be, and that the errant notice would be removed.

This is an ongoing effort by the board of commissioners to disenfranchise people in our community that have been attending via Zoom during the pandemic. The Zoom notice up was not left up accidentally, it was left up intentionally by the commissioners to leave the Zoom attendees at home trying to log in to a Zoom meeting that did not exist, instead of providing a simple and inexpensive way of including everyone.

The commissioners, through their comments on and off the record, their actions and behaviors, have made it crystal clear that they are quite pleased that they are able to disenfranchise the people they’ve intended to in this manner. The Sussex County Board of Commissioners should make a Zoom option available for every single public meeting they hold, and try to include all members of the public, especially our senior citizens and others who are unable to attend physically due to health or mobility issues.

A permanent Zoom option is the right thing to do, and the commissioners’ refusal to accommodate those whom they represent in this manner is a clear indicator of their intent to disenfranchise them.

I urge the public to compel the commissioners to offer a permanent Zoom option.

Kenneth Collins