News Releases

COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Local Governments To Switch To Virtual Public Access For Meetings

Marisa J. Powers, Esq.,
Land Use and Local Government Law

It is safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. Many of us were forced to become familiar with virtual meetings as a replacement for face-to-face meetings, whether we wanted to or not.

A dilemma arose for our local government clients with regards to holding public board meetings during the pandemic. It is a constitutional right to have public access to local government meetings; however, local governments also have a duty to protect the health and safety of its citizens.

In addition, Florida law requires a quorum to be physically present in order to conduct a public meeting.

Local governments were struggling with how to conduct public meetings and provide due process to their citizens while also protecting their health and safety. There were also concerns for the health and safety of local government officials who would also be required to attend the public meetings.

Thankfully, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Orders 20-52 and 20-69 to allow board members to appear virtually and still satisfy quorum requirements and to permit local governments to use media technology to hold board meetings.

However, once the Executive Orders were issued, our Firm and local government clients had to quickly come up to speed on the use of communications media technology, such as Zoom, to hold board meetings and provide due process to the public.

The notices for the public meetings had to be revised to provide the pertinent information for the public to access the virtual meeting; the staff in charge of the Zoom technology had to learn how to use Zoom to ensure that all due process rights were protected; our Firm and local government clients had to come up with procedures and guidelines to provide multiples means of public access to the meetings; and, the members of the local government boards themselves had to receive training and become familiar with the use of Zoom technology if they were going to appear virtually at the meetings.

Our Firm and our local government clients worked closely together to navigate through the issues stemming from the use of communications media technology as a means to access public meetings, with success! We are thankful to our local government clients who trusted us to help see them through these unprecedented times.

If you have any questions or would like assistance in local government matters, please contact Mark Barnebey, Marisa Powers, or Scott Rudacille.

Media Contact:

Jill McGarry
Marketing Director
Bradenton-Sarasota, Florida
jmcgarry@blalockwalters.com
941.748.0100 tel
941.932.7399 cell

Blalock Walters Earns 2021 ‘Best Law Firm’ Ranking

PRESS RELEASE: Blalock Walters, P.A. is pleased to announce that for seventh consecutive year, the firm has been ranked as a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers®. Firms included in the 2021 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for...

Timothy Shaw Chairs Florida Bar Solo and Small Firm Section

PRESS RELEASE - Sarasota-Bradenton, August 18, 2020 - Real estate attorney Timothy S. Shaw of Sarasota law firm Blalock Walters has been elected as the 2020-2021 chair of The Florida Bar Solo & Small Firm Section, a 2,000-member, statewide, voluntary organization...

Maecenas eu placerat ante. Fusce ut neque justo, aliquet enim. In hac habitasse platea aumst. Nullam commodo au erat.
© 2017 Blalock Walters
Share This