ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health was forced to continue its tobacco cap public hearing because of complications with the Zoom platform.
The board adjourned Wednesday after it was discovered that although participants were able to log into the Zoom program, they were unable to call in.
"I will apologize to all of those who joined us and although they can't hear me, to those who called in," Chairman David Rhoads said. "... Proceeding would not be fair."
Late last year, the board agreed to implement a new regulation that would limit the amount of tobacco sales permits allowed in town. The new regulation would not affect those already selling tobacco products.
This hearing would have marked the end of a long process that began long before COVID-19 that has been a regular fixture on the agenda.
The meeting was well attended by those utilizing the Zoom video function however it was discovered that the meeting password that would allow folks to call in via telephone did not work.
The board asked Town Counsel Edmund St. John III if they should proceed and St. John advised against it.
"If the password is incorrect and you are somehow denying access I don’t think you have a valid meeting going on in terms of complying with the Open Meeting Law requirements," he said. "Keeping in mind the exceptions the governor has allowed through his executive order."
He said there's a possible Open Meeting Law violation already on the horizon and he did not want to risk it.
The hearing was continued to Aug. 19. Although there was a preference to hold it earlier, it was noted more time was needed to properly post the meeting.
The agenda was longer than recent ones and included school reopening plans as well as reports on business, restaurant, and public spaces reopenings.
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Adams Board of Health Addresses Open Meeting Law Issue
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — Because of a possible Open Meeting Law violation, the Board of Health will repeat its tobacco permit cap public hearing.
The board voted Wednesday to repeat the hearing after being informed that there was the potential of a complaint.
"I think the main purpose of a public hearing is to make sure we hear public comment before we make a decision," board member Laura Grandchamp said. "There is a potential that that didn't happen for everybody at that meeting."
On Aug. 13, the Board of Health adopted the new tobacco permit cap that would tie the number of permits allowed in town to the town's population.
Pending its blessings, the articles will then move to annual town meeting for final approval. The board passed on all 28 articles unamended but some came under brief scrutiny, mostly for clarification purposes.
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