Council Report: Rules amended to allow videoconferencing


Thanks to technology people across the globe are able to stay in touch even while not venturing out into the world because of the coronavirus.

It is because of this technology that municipalities are also able to continue functioning, including the business of the Fort Worth City Council and other city boards and commissions.

To make it official, at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting, the Fort Worth City Council voted to amend rules of procedure to officially allow for meetings by videoconferencing while any emergency declaration from Mayor Betsy Price, as well as any executive order by Governor Greg Abbott, or Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley related to COVID-19, is in effect.

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“The video technology today will allow the city to conduct some regular business,” District 4 Councilman Cary Moon said, adding, “Oddly enough, The prior terms to describe video technology included ‘readily available’ and ‘user friendly.’ In today’s world we add the terms helps ensure ‘social distancing’ and stops ‘community spread.’”

Any provision of these rules not governed by the city charter or code may be temporarily suspended by a two-thirds vote of all members of the council.

District 8 Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray noted this technology is nothing new for the city and council. In fact, she used such technology in January to join in a meeting even though she was halfway across the nation in Sacramento for a conference. She said the city has had access to videoconferencing technology for more than five years.

“The great thing about it is, looking around us, our technology and ability to communicate surpasses so many cities around us,” Gray said. “For us, it was just a matter of putting an app on everybody’s electronic device.”