As more and more residents are being vaccinated, the Lacey City Council weighed the possibility of moving to in-person meetings sometime in August during its work session last Thu., July 22.
The discussion of moving to a hybrid set-up started in mid-June. However, the city council decided to wait until August to adopt a resolution on whether they would like to return to in-person meetings.
The county commissioners are holding hybrid meetings, with officials present in-person and non-county employees participating in-person or online. Olympia's city council moved to an in-person-only format earlier in July. Tumwater's meetings are online-only as the city acquires technology to accommodate hybrid meetings with a target date to be ready by Sept. 30.
Lacey Assistant City Manager Shannon Kelley-Fong provided options for the council’s consideration. The first suggestion is to continue the remote meetings until August and revisit the option to return to in-person meetings by September.
The second suggestion was to set up hybrid meetings in August.
In addition, the city council also weighed in on moving the time of the city council meetings. Originally, the meetings were scheduled at 7 p.m. However, because of the emergency resolution, the council decided to move the time to 4 p.m.
“I think four’s too early,” Councilmember Lenny Greenstein said. Councilmember Ed Kunkel agreed, “a lot of our folks are missing the Zoom because it's a little bit too early.”
However, Councilmember Carolyn Cox cautioned that they needed to be more careful in deciding whether they should hold in-person meetings, especially since COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Thurston County. “It would be horribly demoralizing to take that step forward, only to have to shut things down,” Cox shared.
The council will decide in the next city council meeting on Thursday, August 5 whether they would move to a hybrid set-up. If the council approves the resolution, they may begin a hybrid meeting on Thursday, August 12 during the city council’s work session.
UPDATE: July 28, 2021, 10:15 a.m. - The sentence describing how Thurston's Board of County Commissioners meetings are held was clarified.