West Point council needs modern tech

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 19, 2020

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We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, so we continue to encourage people to be as safe as possible in their daily dealings.

That means wearing a mask, social distancing and all other things we’ve become so accustomed to over the last eight months.

Government officials have certainly heeded that advice, though most have understandably moved back into their normal meeting space. The LaGrange City Council had moved its meetings to Del’avant Event Center, but has now moved everything back to the normal city council chambers with social distancing protocols.

The Troup County School System and, across the river from West Point, the Chambers County School Systems, are back meeting in person. So are the Chambers County Commission and the Troup County Commission. Other entities in the West Point/Valley area — the Lanett City Council, Valley City Council and LaFayette City Council — are also meeting in person.

There’s really only one exception left, and that’s the West Point City Council.

But it’s not just that West Point isn’t meeting in person — the city isn’t even meeting on video. That’s right, West Point isn’t even using video functionality like Zoom to host its meetings. Instead, the council is using a teleconference to host meetings, and to be honest, it’s been tough to keep up at times with who’s talking and who’s saying what.

Councilwoman Deedee Williams said last week that she ended up on the public number at a recent meeting, so she was muted the whole time. Therefore, when the council met, they didn’t think she was even on the phone. No one could hear her speak or vote.

We must say that we applaud West Point for trying to keep councilmembers apart in an effort to keep everyone healthy.

But this is 2020, not 1990, and everyone has adjusted to this pandemic by using technology. Many of us are calling into video meetings by phone or laptop on a daily basis. It makes it so we can still see one another while getting important work done as a team.

The West Point City Council has to be able to adjust as well, especially if it’s going to stay away from in-person meetings for more time.

It’s important that citizens can easily follow the meetings, and we think that would be much easier on video.

We hope the city will find a way to move meetings to video or meet in person while following virus protocols.