Letter to the Editor: Coronavirus Fears and Government Employees

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner

The recent fears that many residents have about the coronavirus highlight the need for lawmakers to set an example when we have colds, the flu or any virus. We should not infect others during meetings. We need to be considerate of those sitting next to us (other officials) and residents who attend meetings to observe their government in action or to speak out on issues of concern to them. They do not want to get sick because an inconsiderate lawmaker showed up at the meeting. We should stay home and not contaminate others. At the same time many lawmakers take our jobs seriously and we want to participate in the legislative processes.

I believe that the NYS Legislature should amend the open meetings law to allow members of Town, Village Boards, Planning and Zoning Boards, School Boards, Fire District Boards  and County Legislatures to participate in all meetings by Skype or videoconferencing.  State Legislators should also vote by Skype. If we cast our vote at home and it takes place at an open public meeting that can be watched by the community (on TV) the vote should count. I also believe that citizens should be able to participate at public hearings via Skype.

Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor

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About the Author: Paul Feiner