NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES SHARES DANE COUNTY BOARD'S WORK ON REMOTE MEETINGS
April 14, 2020
County Board Chair Analiese Eicher, 608-571-6823
The Dane County Board, along with countless other local governing bodies, had to react quickly in the last month to comply with and promote social distancing practices while also moving important policy items forward – many of which were related to the County’s emergency response to COVID-19.
“We needed to have a County Board meeting to approve critical funding measures and changes to our rules to be able to move forward in the coming weeks and months as this pandemic unfolds” said County Board Chair Analiese Eicher.
In the week prior to the March 19 County Board meeting, the guidance around social distancing and size of gatherings continued to change – and shrink. It became very obvious the 37 member Board would no longer be able to meet in person, so the staff of the County Board, County Board Supervisors, Corporation Counsel, and Information Management worked tirelessly to figure out the best strategy to hold a County Board meeting with supervisors, staff, and the public all participating remotely.
Following a successful first trial of the process and technology at their March 19 County Board meeting, a detailed toolkit was developed which included the legal considerations, technology considerations, and basic how-to’s of running a remote County Board meeting. The intention was to share this with other units of local government as a resource.
“For us, this was an all hands-on-deck situation. We thought other local governing bodies may be struggling with the same issues, and we wanted to share what we learned. If there’s a positive attribute that has come out of this pandemic, it’s a sense of community. The County Board is no different – we’re all in this together, and sharing our experience was a great contribution we were able to make” said Eicher.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) expressed interest in the remote public meeting toolkit, and featured the Dane County Board’s work in an article shared last week in their national publication.
Since sharing the toolkit with others and NACo’s article, the County Board has received requests from all over the country for information regarding how to duplicate Dane County’s success.