WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) For the first time in the history of Luzerne County, its governing body met remotely due to concerns over COVID-19. County council called the special meeting to discuss the ongoing state of emergency in the county. There were some slight technical issues, but council got its business done.
In an unprecedented move, the Luzerne County Council Chairman started a special meeting of the 11 member council on Thursday. Council members were either on the telephone or on video conferencing. The meeting was broadcast on cable, social media and online. Viewers saw a microphone and speaker phone and they could hear the council members discussions. It was controlled from a media production center near the now empty Council meeting room.
“Obviously we don’t know what we are facing. This is uncharted waters for all of us. I hope everybody stays safe take care of their family,” said Tim McGinley, Chairman, Luzerne County Council.
Residents could ask question by emailing the county website. The big item on the agenda was extending the state of emergency declaration made by the county manager last Sunday.
“I think it was a very good effort we will look to refine it and make it better hopefully to include more people in the process,” said McGinley.
County Manager Dave Pedri says remote meetings could be the way things get done in, at least, the near future.
“Listen this is a new and unprecedented time. What we are doing is trying to get the people involved as best as possibly could and still run the government,” said Dave Pedri, Luzerne County Manager.
McGinley and other council members say they have to come up with a better way to allow the public to get more involved in the meetings.
On Thursday, county council voted to suspend meetings for the next 30 days based on the uncertainty and ever changing COVID-19 crisis.