Staff say the live components of Township Hardware were damaged during CIVUD and the difficulty of replacing parts for hybrid sessions was the reason for the delay in reopening to the public
Interestingly, when he brought up the discussion, Mayor George Cornell was sick, and he participated in a virtual committee for the entire meeting from his own home through a remote hybrid process.
At a recent meeting, Tiny Council heard from staff explaining why council chambers are not open to the public since the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way municipalities handle face-to-face meetings.
“The technical issue stemmed from the parts we ordered,” said CFO/Treasurer Haley Leblond. “It’s a motherboard that allows electronic participation from the system in the parliamentary chamber, as well as intra-parliamentary participation, no need for extra laptops, no need for headsets, and people can go up and represent parliament at the parliamentary podium. Due to COVID and its origin from China, this A particular part is hard to come by,” she added, citing delivery issues.
Staff did not disclose the cost of the component, only that the replacement cost is high.
A hybrid solution was discussed, but Leblond suggested that the training period for public use of conference room equipment, as well as requirements for technologies such as laptops and headsets, and cleaning procedures between public uses also included challenges.
Cornell then asked if the normal state of pre-pandemic livestreaming could be resumed.
“My understanding of part of the challenge,” CAO Robert Lamb replied, “our motherboard is the part that allows live streaming.
“This is because they just stopped working part of a year ago when they made updates and changes to our system.” Lamb also explained that during the backorder, the company had said the component would arrive soon, only To further delay in a repetitive manner. “At the moment, we don’t have the ability to do live broadcasts other than what we’re doing right now.”
Suppliers do not provide estimated arrival times for ordered parts, Lamb noted, and exploring different solutions could double the time initially expected.
“This will have a budgetary impact – hopefully not over the lame duck threshold that we also have to think about – because we don’t budget for this type of technology beyond what is currently budgeted for repairs,” Lamb said.
county. Cindy Hastings asked if any similar equipment could be temporarily rented in the meantime, chuckling as if the answer was a similar technical flaw. However, Leblond seemed genuinely surprised by the question and thought about it.
“That option, I haven’t explored,” Leblond admitted. “That’s a good question. I would of course ask the vendor; if there was a solution that could be offered, I would think they would.”
county. Gibb Wishart, while expressing sympathy for in-person attendance, urged safety in all other respects. His remarks prompted Deputy Mayor Walmart to ask Clerk Sue Walton if the livestream could be removed from the conference room process, similar to pre-pandemic meetings.
Walton noted that the official minutes of the council and committees are by-the-minute meeting minutes, but said she needed time to consider a policy on live streaming; Walmart retracted saying that the trade-off for live streaming would be public access to meetings. CAO Lamb proposes to extend the conversation to the next committee of the whole for a full update.
With the municipal term coming to an end, many committees have only about one meeting left before next month’s election, and the council has also approved giving individual committees the discretion to return to in-person meetings, as a gesture to those who wish to see what could be Face to face for the last time.
Archives of council meetings are available on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.