Arlington County is taking steps toward making virtual meeting participation a post-pandemic option for residents, staff and local officials.
“We are all trying to figure out what worked really well about virtual engagement and adapting it,” County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol tells ARLnow.
The board expects to transition back to in-person meetings in June or July, Cristol said. But hybrid formats, such as in-person board and commission meetings with virtual public comments, could be here to stay.
County staff are working on securing funding to expand virtual and hybrid meeting options as part of the three-year Capital Improvement Plan, which the County Board is slated to adopt in July. The plan includes $1 million for adding or enhancing audio and visual capabilities in conference rooms.
The upgrades would help broaden public participation, “making in-person meetings accessible virtually by others unable to participate” in-person, according to a staff presentation.
Last year, Gov. Ralph Northam issued an emergency order and legislators changed state law to allow for online government meetings during the pandemic. Legislation approved in March will allow local officials to be exempt from in-person meeting standards during emergencies declared by local governing bodies, in addition to ones declared by the governor.
State open-meeting laws also allow officials on an individual, limited basis to attend a meeting virtually in certain circumstances, such as a temporary disability or personal matter.
The new legislation is not as robust as some officials advocated for last year, however. County Board member Libby Garvey and other women in politics testified before the Virginia Freedom of Information Association Council — a state agency that helps resolve disputes over Freedom of Information issues — and signed a joint letter supporting more flexible rules governing virtual attendance for public officials.
Now, Arlington County officials are looking to keep some virtual meeting adaptations in place, noting that other governmental bodies benefited from gathering virtually.
Cristol said many people, including appointed commission members who aren’t compensated for their time, can face difficulties with participating in meetings when juggling children’s needs, work and other issues.
She said in an email that the capital improvement proposal would be a foundational step toward “being able to livestream every commission and committee meeting.”
Pre-pandemic, Arlington County live-streamed only key meetings, including those of the County Board, Planning Commission and Transportation Commission.
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The 44th Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard
Sale will be along the John Marshall Drive/Ohio Street greenway on
Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The community will be out in
force to exchange information and greetings, sell unneeded household
items, and pick up a few bargains.
About 100 families set up tables for the festivities, which take
place along the six-block stretch of the greenway from near Langston
Blvd. to Washington Blvd. Attendance is free, but
a $10 fee will be collected from individuals and families selling
household items during the event. Ensure that all goods and rubbish are
removed from the greenway by 1 p.m. Leave dogs at home.
For more info, call 703-532-6101. If planning to sell, start labeling
your items for sale NOW! Event will take place as long as there is not
active rain. Rain date is June 10.
36TH FESTIVAL ARGENTINO
ARLINGTON JUNE 3RD, 2023
Sat, June 3rd I 3:30 pm / Shows 5:50 pm I Kenmore Auditorium I Glencarlyn
The 36th Festival Argentino USA celebrates Argentine Day and Cultural Freedom. The folkloric group Los 4 de Córdoba and 25 more artists from Argentina, World, and Solidarity Tribute, 200 years of friendship between USA and Argentina!.
Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved
Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved.
Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers
4th of July Celebration & Fireworks
Treat yourself this Independence Day with a world-class, private 4th of July extravaganza at the Military Women’s Memorial – a premier National Capital Region site.
Great food, fun, and the best views of Washington DC’s spectacular fireworks display. Relax, enjoy,