Atlantic City, NJ Council Adopts Hybrid Model To Open Participation
The format of the Atlantic City government by definition is comprised of a “Strong” City Council and a “Weak” Mayor form of government.
There has been a lot of negative news generated from the Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small administration this year.
This is a “feel good” report about the legislative branch of the Atlantic City government (City Council) acting responsibly.
This is a very big deal … an idea that was conceived by Atlantic City 6th Ward Atlantic City Councilman Jesse Kurtz and Council President George Tibbitt.
It’s known as a “Hybrid Meeting.” This means that Atlantic City residents can attend Atlantic City Council meetings in person, inside council chambers.
Or, they can attend virtually from any location in the world.
It went into effect on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at the regular open public meeting of the Atlantic City Council.
Between planning and implementation, this was five months in the making. They spent about two months developing the concept and it took about three months to get the equipment in order to make this technology work.
Any citizen who wishes to view a City Council meeting from a remote location, will be able to do so, and they’ll also be able to participate fully, including asking questions during all open public regular meetings.
It’s a real game-changer at many levels. If there’s an important ordinance that someone would like to comment on, but they are unable to travel to council chambers … Now, they can do so via computer, or, using their smartphone device from any remote location.
Most local governments hesitate from doing something as transparent as this.
However, the Atlantic City Council has demonstrated that they want to be transparent and that they want as much resident feedback as possible.
There is no other reason to do this other than a sincere desire to increase resident participation.
Compare this open-door policy in Atlantic City with the recent actions of the Absecon City Council, when they denied more than 30 residents the opportunity to speak at an open public meeting last week.
Atlantic City gets a bad rap. On this occasion, City Council is setting a good example that other municipalities should consider emulating.