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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bob Suelter, City Attorney 620-793-41111 email@example.com
CITY OPEN MEETINGS POLICY DURING COVID-19 CRISIS
Great Bend, Ks, March 30, 2020 – On March 20, 2020, the City of Great Bend, Kansas, adopted Resolution Number 032020-A restricting public access to City buildings. The Kansas Attorney General has issued guidance for keeping meeting open to the public during the “social distancing” emergency restrictions.
That guidance includes:
*The KOMA remains in full force and effect unless explicitly suspended by emergency order of the governor. The Governor has not currently suspended any requirements of KOMA.
*If the members of the public body themselves are not physically gathered in one place-for example, if the meeting itself is conducted by telephone or videoconferencing-then members of the public must be able to join in the electronic conferencing in order to listen to or observe he meeting.
*If the members of the public body are physically gathered for a meeting but cannot allow members of the public to be present because of emergency limitations, then the public body must take steps to allow the members of the public to listen to or observe the meeting by telephone, videoconferencing, television broadcast or similar method.
*When the public is participating in a public meeting by telephone or other medium of interactive communication, members of the body must take steps to help the public understand the proceedings despite not being physically present. For example, each speaker in the meeting should identify herself by name before speaking or voting so remote listeners or observers can more readily know who is speaking, likewise, each motion should be clearly stated and each vote tally clearly announced.
*The procedure for any executive session must be clearly explained at the outset of a meeting.
*There must be no cost for the public to participate.
*There must be a method for distributing any agenda or other written materials that ordinarily could be picked up in person by members of the public attending. Those procedures must be explained to the public before the meeting begins.
Since public access restrictions have been placed on public buildings, the following procedures will be followed in conducting public meetings.
It is the hope of the City that this crisis passes quickly and that all remain safe and healthy. When deemed safe to do so, the City will return to allowing public attendance at meetings. This policy is intended to apply to situations dealing with the various restrictions placed on attendance at public gatherings during this time of crisis.
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