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CCU - COVID-19 Commission Meeting FOIA Protocol
With the current situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a level of uncertainty related to the proper approach to public meetings. Jason Carter, who we have been using as legal counsel, indicated that there have been no declarations or temporary accommodations to relax the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Laws. Therefore, setting up a process in the meantime to accommodate FOIA and fulfilling the requirements for “social distancing” is warranted. This is intended to allow CCU as a public body and critical services provider to the City of Clarksville to continue doing business as a utility and maintain continuity of its operations.
We are intending to begin having our regular or any future Commission meetings using a video conference technology until the COVID-19 event passes. We have tested the GoToMeeting application with all five (5) Commissioners and it has worked. Therefore, we will use this medium as a way to conduct meetings. This will allow the board members to stay in the comfort and isolation of their home, while being able to conduct the meeting.
The CCU GM, the Finance Officer and the Administrative Assistant will attend the meeting and be in the CCU board room. The CCU department heads and anyone from the public who wishes to attend will also be able to attend virtually if they so choose. We will forward our normal notice to the media and individuals who normally receive notice of our meetings. This will include the GoToMeeting Calendar invite notice. This will give them the ability to attend via the video conference if they wish and/or dial in on the phone to participate in the meeting.
In keeping with the current Emergency Lockdown Procedures (ELP) and open meeting laws, CCU will continue to have the office locked and we will place a notice on the doors for any person who wishes to physically attend the CCU Board meeting. In order to gain entry, CCU will conduct entry screening which may include questions about health or recent travel, noninvasive examination, sanitizing, donning protective gloves or masks, and/or other similar activities. Persons who pass screening will be permitted to attend the meeting in person on a first-come basis, subject to the 6’ “social distancing” recommendations of the CDC and the size of the board room. Non-CCU persons attending the meeting will ONLY be allowed to enter the board room. Please use the restroom before you arrive.
The CCU Commission will conduct the business meeting and the staff will record the meeting using is normal audio recording device and it will record the GoToMeeting video as well. These recording will be available if FOIA requests take place.
We hope these temporary changes in meeting process will accommodate both the need to maintain FOIA and practice good health habits during this unique time.