Englewood Resident Raises Concerns Over Virtual Meeting Accessibility

On September 26, 2023, the Englewood City Council convened for a virtual meeting to discuss city matters and address public concerns. The meeting, conducted both telephonically and via Zoom, included a closed session where the council discussed litigation, personnel matters, contract negotiations, and attorney-client privilege matters.

After reconvening from the closed session around 10:15 PM, the council opened the floor to public comments. It was here that a resident of Englewood, Diane Janssen, brought forward concerns regarding the accessibility of remote Zoom meetings. Ms. Janssen detailed the challenges faced by citizens, emphasizing the elderly, in joining virtual meetings for the planning board or the board of adjustment.

Ms. Janssen described a ten-step process on the city website that residents must navigate to access the necessary information and credentials for joining a remote meeting. She walked the council through each step, highlighting the complexities and potential barriers faced by residents, especially those who might not be technologically proficient. “I think that’s a bit much to ask of our residents, especially our elderly population,” Janssen stated, suggesting a return to in-person meetings to address these accessibility issues.

The council members, including Mayor Michael Wildes, listened to Ms. Janssen’s concerns but did not engage in a discussion or propose immediate solutions during the meeting. The concerns raised by Ms. Janssen were noted, and she thanked the council for their time, stating she would send in the detailed steps the following day.

The meeting proceeded without further public comments or discussions on the matter raised by Ms. Janssen. The council members moved to adjourn the meeting, concluding the session without additional debate or disagreement on the issues presented.

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