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Additional modifications to Fort Wayne City Council meeting procedures

Last week City Clerk Lana Keesling and Council President Tom Didier announced modifications to traditional City Council meeting protocols. Shortly thereafter, Citizens Square, where council meetings occur, was closed by Fort Wayne and Allen County executives to the general public.

Since then, staff has been working to determine how council can best accomplish the business of meeting, facilitating transparent legislative functions, and preserving the safety of all involved.

Keesling, working with the Indiana Public Access Office, has outlined the following parameters to stay in compliance with all Indiana laws in light of several executive orders from the governor. These procedures include, but are not limited to:

• Council, in conjunction with Mayor Henry’s administration, will be limiting ordinances and resolutions to necessary city business, being mindful of the fact that the city is still functioning efficiently and effectively throughout this crisis.

• All council meetings will have a telephonic component, as allowed by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s order, allowing council members and city staff to call in and participate in the meeting while maintaining social distancing directives. There must be at least one member of Council present for each meeting.

• Media will also be permitted to call in and be on the line for the meeting to allow maximum transparency. Media outlets should contact the Fort Wayne City Clerk’s Office at 427-1221 by noon on the day of the meeting to receive dial-in instructions.

• All meetings will take place in the Council Courtroom, Room 035 of Citizens Square. Meetings will be taped and broadcast, so citizens can watch from home, on channel 58 (Comcast), channel 28 (Frontier), or livestreamed through the Allen County Public Library. A link can be found at https://www.cityoffortwayne.org/city-council-information.html.

• Council will not be taking public comment during meetings. Any comments citizens wish to make and have read into the record can be submitted to the Clerk’s Office by email (clerk@cityoffortwayne.org) or by mail (200 East Berry, Suite 110, 46802). Comments should be no more than 300 words and must be received by the close of business the Friday before the meeting in question.

“We are attempting to continue to uphold transparent, productive government, with the guidance of state officials. This is a difficult time for everyone, but we are all working together to continue to move forward,” Keesling said in a statement. Didier will preside over the meeting, and anyone else in the room is asked to maintain at least six feet distance from one another. Contact Keesling at (260)427-1221 or Council Administrator Megan Flohr at (260)427-1445 for up-to-date information or questions.

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