Borough assembly members passed the first reading of an ordinance clarifying teleconference and absence regulations on March 17.
Borough clerk Emily Deach brought the issue forward, saying standards need to be set for meetings, both special and scheduled, and whether assembly members are allowed to teleconference in.
Under the proposed ordinance, it will be up to the assembly to decide and vote on whether a member or the mayor is excused, unless they are away for municipal business.
All members of the assembly are allowed to attend four meetings total via teleconference and only two consecutively. Should a member participate in four meetings telephonically, it will be up the assembly to decide whether teleconferencing may continue.
For special meetings, assembly members were given more leeway, as notice can be as little as 24 hours. As such, members are allowed to teleconference as often as necessary.
At any assembly meeting, no more than three members of the assembly may participate by phone.
In general, assembly members agreed with the ordinance, speaking to the late notice for special meetings. But as for regular meetings, members spoke to the importance of attendance.
“I feel that if you are serving on this assembly, you should make every effort to make every meeting in person, barring a weather hold or a vacation every year,” Assemblyman Tim Cochran said.
Teleconferencing in, assemblyman Dan Henry spoke to current code.
“We have an ordinance that says we can teleconference four meetings per annual year into a meeting. The mayor has the power to excuse an absence, whether it be a family situation, a medical emergency… whatever it may be… And so that’s in place,” Henry said.
“Either you understand what the rules are and you go by them, and you act and react to them, or you don’t. Kind of that simple.”
The assembly passed the first reading unanimously