Minnesota Public Radio: Minnesota local government goes virtual during pandemic

EXCERPT: “The coronavirus pandemic, and efforts to slow its spread, has shuttered many government buildings. But cities and counties need to continue providing essential services, so many local governments are moving to remote, virtual meetings. For some, that’s meant putting meetings online for the first time. Others, like the city of Moorhead, have long broadcast council meetings on local public access television and on a live stream, but remote meetings create new challenges communicating and ensuring public access. ‘Overall, with a few minor things, I think it’s worked pretty well and everyone’s adjusting accordingly,’ said Moorhead Mayor Johnathan Judd. ‘We do want to be cognizant of the fact that not everybody has internet access, and how we can be as accommodating as possible.’ At a meeting last month, city council members struggled to be heard as they tried to chime in from remote locations . . . Reliable broadband access has long been inconsistent in parts of rural Minnesota — and the internet demands of the pandemic are highlighting the system’s shortcomings. ‘There are parts of the state that don’t have great broadband access, which can be a barrier, certainly, to virtual video meetings,’ said Julie Ring, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Counties. ‘We have county board members that don’t have internet access at their homes. And we certainly have county staff that don’t have good internet access at their homes.'” FULL STORY: https://fluence-media.co/3abFep9