Last Monday, the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association’s (JPNA) board held its first community meeting since early March, albeit in a way that will become the new normal for the time being.
JPNA became the first community group in Eastie to host a meeting via ZOOM since the entire city and state was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Already other community groups said they will follow suit. Eagle Hill Civic Association President Debra Cave said her board plans to hold an hour long ZOOM community meeting at the end of the month.
“We are moving the JPNA to a virtual meeting format,” said JPNA’s board member Mary Cole. “This will allow us to continue to meet and have an impact on issues while restrictions on gatherings remain in effect. We have chosen ZOOM as the meeting platform because it has features that will help us manage voting and run better meetings.”
In her presentation during the online meeting Cole said all meetings will be recorded, and the recordings will be posted online on the JPNA website.
“When we can once again meet in person, we may experiment with a “blended” meeting format where folks have the option of attending in person, or online,” she said.
Cole said JPNA will be using ZOOM to capture attendance information.
“You will be asked to pre-register for each meeting with your name, your email address, and your residence address,” said Cole. “This information will only be used by the JPNA to allow us to record your attendance and check your voting eligibility.”
After the meeting, only those who pre-registered and attended the online meeting will receive an email acknowledging their attendance.
“We are not changing our rules for voting eligibility,” said Cole. “Voting Members shall be defined by residency within the Corporation’s Boundaries and attendance at no fewer than two of the last four regularly scheduled meetings. Direct abutters within the radius to any matter voted upon shall be exempt from the minimum number of required meetings and afforded the right to vote on that matter.”
Cole said after a meeting where voting issues are presented, eligible attendees will receive a one-time code that will allow them to enter their votes via a website 48 hours after the meeting.
“Results of the vote will be published with the meeting minutes one week after the meeting,” said Cole.
JPNA members will be asked to register for the scheduled monthly meetings in advance.
“We require that all attendees register in advance,” she said. “Once you register you will receive an email with a link to access the ZOOM meeting. You may need to install the Zoom client software on your computer, or install the Zoom app if you are using a phone or tablet.
Questions can be submitted in advance of the meeting on a given agenda item by emailing questions to [email protected] before the meeting.
“Members can also ask questions during the meeting by using ZOOM’s chat feature,” said Cole. “To access the chat feature, click on the chat button at the bottom of your screen. This will open a panel into which you can type your questions during the meeting. At this time, we will only accept questions via the chat function. We may change that policy as we all get more experienced with attending and managing virtual meetings.”
Cole addec the JPNA Board has put a lot of work into this plan so the neighborhood can continue to have an impact on issues that affect our community.
“We realize that not everyone has internet access from home,” said Cole. “We are working with individuals who do not have internet access to allow them to attend via phone. This is a big change for all of us so please be patient. There will be hiccups, and we will try to address them.
Please let us know where we can improve.”