The Local Government Center routinely receives questions about an official wanting to participate in a meeting by phone or conducting a complete meeting by teleconference. Winter brings a lot of these inquiries when hazardous travel or absent “snowbirds” give rise to the desire or need for an official or several to participate in a meeting by phone or other electronic media.
A new Electronic Meetings Fact Sheet offers guidance on issues raised by these requests or by attempting to conduct meetings through phone or other communication means. This fact sheet considers issues raised under Wisconsin’s Open Meeting Law and how Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised affect electronic meetings. It also offers some practical thoughts on the challenges of chairing or participating in an electronic meeting.
The fact sheet gives more serious thought to practical issues amusingly illustrated in a recent You Tube video entitled: A Conference Call in Real Life. In that video a group dramatizes conference call meeting mishaps as if everyone were in the same room, such as dogs barking or appliance noises or silence when an attendee is asked a question because the person responding forgot to take their phone off mute. Local Government Specialist Dan Hill authored the fact sheet and commented that the YouTube video points out many of the potential problems faced in an actual electronic meeting. Problems we can hope to avoid by reviewing the Electronic Meetings Fact sheet today. Find it on the Local Government Center web site: http://lgc.uwex.edu/ under the Documents tab.