Urbancrest leaders agree to hybrid meeting model

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

The lingering question as to how the village of Urbancrest will conduct its public meetings during the pandemic has been put to rest.

At a special meeting held on March 2, village council unanimously approved a resolution that allowed the transition to a virtual setting. Their action paves the way for future council meetings and committee meetings to be held in a hybrid format.

The village has been debating this issue for months, which the council believed was resolved when they voted to transition to a virtual setting at their meeting in December. The resolution that was passed was done in accordance with legislation approved by the state.

In the weeks that followed, however, Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. discovered that there were “several issues” related to the body of the text and the desired technical specifications related to the contract with web hosting service Cisco Webex.

He said after he made those discoveries, he called for council to hold its regular meeting at the municipal hall – only one council member showed up at that meeting in January, and only two showed up for the meeting in February.

During that informal session, law director Rodd Lawrence urged council to approve a request for a special meeting in order to iron out the issues and continue on with the business of the council.

Now that those issues have been straightened out, code enforcement officer Randall Bogue (who also serves as the village’s IT specialist) said the March 9 council meeting should be held virtually and in-person.

“It’s a tight window, but if all goes well the people who want to attend the meeting virtually should be able to do so,” he said.

Councilman Steven Larkins said he was pleased with the outcome, which still allows people to attend the meetings in-person should they choose.

“I think it’s a win-win for the community,” he said.

According to Barnes, those who wish to watch via Cisco Webex can find the link or dial-in number before the scheduled meetings at the village website, www.villageofurbancrestoh.us. He added that those who wish to attend in-person can continue to do so at the municipal hall, located at 3492 First Ave. Their council meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.


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