Letter: Call for council, commissioners to hold in-person public meetings

One of the foundational advantages of American self-governance is the concept of in-person public meetings. These meetings provide the community a collaborative environment, where ideas are exchanged and, sometimes, hotly debated. The benefits of in-person public meetings, through the collaborative exchange and natural consensus that results, cannot be overstated.

When the pandemic first started over a year ago, our community responded to the models and forecasts by accepting online meetings, rather than in-person public meetings. In the initial stages of the emergency, it was a reasonable balance to accept the natural inefficiency of online meetings in exchange for avoiding the risks of gathering in-person.

Today, although the risks have been greatly diminished, we are still accepting the disadvantages online meetings represent for the community.

Only when community members meet in-person to collaborate can a true consensus best be reached and observed by our elected representatives. In an in-person, public meeting, community members may engage in conversations about a variety of policy matters. Public meetings allow for a more robust exchange of ideas, as the totality of the exchanges aren’t controlled by electronic measures, but rather human interaction, as our democracy requires.

In the absence of the open and constructive environment that public meetings represent, the community is at a disadvantage to collaborate and find consensus on moving forward. Online meetings place our representatives at a disadvantage, as they can’t observe this public community collaboration and consensus take place.

Considering almost everyone in Routt County is back to work in-person, resuming in-person public meetings is now critical for our elected representatives to understand the priorities of the community and to ensure those priorities are reflected through policies enacted on our behalf. Current conditions do not justify the disadvantage naturally resulting from continued online meetings.

The Routt County Republicans Central Committee asks all government bodies and boards in Routt County to resume meeting in-person to restore the collaborative process and to ensure our representatives are listening to the people of Routt County.

Pete Wood, Lindsay Wert, Rachael Jacobson, Del Lockhart, Savannah Wolfson and Mary Weiss

Routt County Republicans executive committee

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