AberdeenCity Council meetings to change soon

The Aberdeen City Council was initially supposed to be meeting in a “hybrid” setting on Wednesday evening, March 9, where those who wanted to attend in-person could, and those who preferred to attend via Zoom could choose that option as well.

But then things changed. Aberdeen’s City Council President Kati Kachman explained the change to The Daily World.

“It only changed due to the (mask) restrictions being lifted so soon to the meeting,” she said.

The face mask mandate ended March 12. The masks are no longer required in many indoor settings, which include K-12 public schools, restaurants, gyms, grocery stores and retail locations, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

Part of the ending of the mandate notes that local governments can choose to require masks, or not require masks.

Kachman explained further why the council changed direction from its March 9 meeting being held in a “hybrid’ setting to being exclusively over Zoom.

“It seemed to make the most sense to come back to council under the new rules, rather than follow current mandates only to have everything change come the next meeting.”

Kachman said on the evening of March 9, that she knew of several council members who were concerned about masks.

“Both (who) want people to properly wear them, and (some) not wanting to attend if masks were required,” she said.

Kachman said she made a recommendation to the city, based on feedback from several council members, to change the meeting from a “hybrid” setting to hosting it via Zoom.

The council will instead aim for the March 23 meeting for its first “hybrid” session.

Aberdeen Mayor Pete Schave sounded positive about the potential to change from Zoom meetings to at least “hybrid” meetings when he discussed the anticipated transition on Feb. 15, when he spoke to The Daily World.

The change from remote to hybrid council meetings should make both Aberdeen residents and the council members happy.

Schave said there were a lot of residents who wanted the council to switch from remote meetings to hybrid meetings.

Schave, who was inside the City Council chambers during the March 9 council meeting, suggested on Feb. 15, that there would need to be a test of sorts to make sure the new technology inside the chambers would allow the meetings to run without a hitch.

The technology includes a 70-inch TV, a few remote-controlled cameras — so the council members can tune in via Zoom and vice versa — plus installation of the technology. Schave said the new technology cost the city roughly $8,000.

During the March 9 meeting, the technology proved it did work. The mayor’s Zoom feed sounded and looked clear.

The council meeting’s agenda was also changed to include the appointment of new council member David Gakin, who the council voted for unanimously to take the open council spot in Ward 2 Position 3.

Gakin is replacing former council member Tiesa Meskis. Kachman said to The Daily World that Meskis resigned from the council on Wednesday, Jan. 12, because of her “relocation plans out of the area.”

“The original agenda had Zoom listed for the method and the amendment was to include the council member appointment to the agenda.”

Kachman said she looks forward to Gakin joining the council.