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Friday, August 12, 2022

Press Release From Mayor Linda Rhodes Concerning Council Meetings and Zoom

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The following statement was read aloud by Mayor Pro-Tem Linda Rhodes just after
calling the July 13, 2021 Special Meeting to order:

This meeting has been properly posted and, as you have noticed, is not available
virtually. When the pandemic first hit, the then City Manager and Mayor made a
concerted decision to offer the meetings virtually. Now that COVID restrictions have
been relaxed, and due to Governor’s Executive Order GA-34, the situations have
improved. Therefore, the Mayor Pro-Tem (acting in the Mayor’s absence) and
the temporary Interim City Manager, along with legal counsel, made a concerted decision to
discontinue this option at this time. There is no legal obligation to make meetings
available virtually. The decision to go virtual was a decision based upon the pandemic
and the decision to discontinue virtual was based upon the pandemic situation as well.
Both decisions were made by the same positions. However, with that being said, as it
relates to any transparency concerns, the city could explore other options to possibly live
stream to make meetings available for viewing only.

Update from Mayor Rhodes:
Even though the city has had the capability to broadcast meetings, it had not been done
prior to COVID. As stated earlier, meetings were made available virtually due to COVID
restrictions. During that time, several technical issues arose that were challenging for
staff to navigate and control. Due to those issues, and given the fact that restrictions have
been relaxed, the virtual option (as it was being done) was discontinued. As an update,
the staff is currently working to get the meetings available for public viewing as well as
training new staff on the process. Our goal is to have this available by the July regular
meeting. If not then, by the August meeting, providing IT has everything needed in
place. In the meantime, a huge thank you goes out to Kennedale News for going above
and beyond by broadcasting the special meeting on July 13. We believe this is a positive
step forward in our journey to better transparency.

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