Cheshire Board of Selectmen Meeting Rescheduled After Technical Difficulties
CHESHIRE, Mass.—The Board of Selectmen postponed their meeting until Friday, July 16, at 6:30 P.M.
After a delayed start to their meeting Tuesday, Chairwoman Michelle Francesconi decided to postpone the meeting after issues arose with the GoTo Meeting platform the town has been using to broadcast their meetings virtually.
The decision was made around 7:00 P.M. — a half hour after the meeting was scheduled to start.
Francesconi discovered just before 6:30 P.M. that Cheshire's GotTo Meeting administrative account had been frozen. She said that it was operable earlier in the day, but it shut down sometime between when she accessed it and the meeting start time.
Francesconi addressed the crowd — which contained around 20 people, mostly gathered for the NETRA motorcycle race agenda item — and said that the GoTo Meeting administrative account was frozen due to a large backlog of unpaid invoices.
On Thursday, Francesconi communicated that the LogMeIn company had not credited the town's account for invoices and had incorrectly shut down the account.
She wrote in an email:
"After following up for the past two days on the Town of Cheshire's GoToMeeting accounts, the LogMeIn company had not credited our account for invoices that we had paid over the course of the past year and had incorrectly shut down our account. Their error led to us having to cancel our meeting on Tuesday. The company has corrected the error and our account is active. I just wanted to update you as it was not the fault of our administrative offices."
In order to increase access to the public, the selectmen agreed to remain in a hybrid meeting model. Although in-person attendance is allowed, the town still provides a remote option.
During the height of of the COVID-19 pandemic, like other governmental bodies, the selectmen were forced to hold their meetings entirely remotely.
Because the Board had advertised that the meeting was accessible remotely, they were forced to postpone it to remain in compliance with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Laws.
The crowd expressed disappointment—as did the Board—but recognized that having the meeting without the remote accessibility would be a violation of Massachusetts law and likely would have resulted in fines or other punishment from the state Attorney General.