Jenks must hold public meetings in person as state’s legislation on virtual meetings expires
Last March when the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation, the state of Oklahoma legislators passed a law making it possible for public meetings to take place virtually rather than in person.
Since that time, the City of Jenks has been conducting its open meetings virtually. The meetings were first shown live on the city’s Facebook page, then the meetings started to be shown on the city’s YouTube account.
The statute that was put in place allowing public meetings to take place in the virtual world expired Nov. 15, which means that the City of Jenks must go back to in-person public meetings.
“After Nov. 14, which was the expiration date on the virtual meetings being allowed, we will meet in person for our public meetings,” Jenks City Manager Chris Shrout said. “We have the community room set up here (City Hall), so we can socially distance. The elected officials or appointed commissioners, depending on what type of meeting it is, will have their own table and be socially distanced. We anticipate the state legislature will pass some legislation that will allow for continued virtual meetings, but until then, we will meet in person.”
Shrout added the current council chambers where meetings used to take place in person does not provide enough space to safely socially distance, which is why the community room will be used.
The next scheduled City Council meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday.