Will Margate Commissioners make municipal meetings more safe and accessible to residents? So far, that answer is no.
With the recent spike in health concerns, Margate taxpayers prefer participating in municipal meetings via online Zoom video conferencing. It’s more important than ever.
Too bad Margate’s Mayor and Commissioners, along with Business Admin Rich Deaney, don’t agree.
Becker, Amodeo & Blumberg took advice from Business Admin Deaney: Even with Covid concerns, don’t let Margate residents participate and comment via the ZOOM chat function.
Want to comment at a public meeting? Mask up and attend in person. No matter how risky that might be.
Margate’s Mayor Becker, Commissioners Amodeo and Blumberg, as well as Business Administrator Deaney are against Full-ZOOM meetings.
Irony: Mr. Deaney is a resident of Ocean City, a South Jersey town that excels in their online transparency.Margate Elite
Due to health concerns, many don’t want to gather in small spaces, like a Commissioner chamber. That’s why Business Admin Rich Deaney is shutting down some of Margate’s facilities, specifically those catering to seniors.
LISTEN to DownbeachBUZZ commentary:
NOTE: Margate and Ventnor do not provide live video feeds or on-demand viewing of their school board meetings.
Close to 75% of Margate residents are 2nd home owners. When not in town, they want to participate in city meetings from their primary, non-Margate residence. Deaney doesn’t think that’s a good idea.
Deaney is a resident of Ocean City. Residents furious that he blocks Margate taxpayers from participating in municipal meetings.
Margate’s Municipal Transparency Challenge
Shore towns like Ventnor, Atlantic City and Brigantine start their meetings between 5:30p and 6p, a more convenient time for residents to participate.
- Margate’s current start time for department head meetings is 4p.
- Margate’s current start time for regular Commissioner meetings is 5p.
Most Margate taxpayers are still at work at 4p. Others are stuck in traffic, picking up kids, or they’re making dinner for family.
Margate Homeowners Association Wants Transparency via ZOOM.
Below is an email sent from the MHA, Margate Homeowners Assn., asking City Hall to provide taxpayers the opportunity to view, listen and comment via Zoom online conferencing.
City Admin Rich Deaney is against using full-featured, Zoom meetings.
LETTER FROM MHA to MARGATE CITY HALL:
We listened to audio from Jan, 6, 2022 meeting. We heard Mr. Deaney say the city will be combining meetings due to Covid concerns. Makes sense. The less time crowds come together, the better. All the more reason to rely on ZOOM online meetings.
Many Margate taxpayers are senior citizens, the most susceptible to Covid. Why force them to attend a meeting in person in order to make a public comment?
Many taxpayers are unable to attend important city meetings due work schedules and/or caring for their families. They can’t attend meetings in person but they still want to share with concerns before matters are voted on.
In the spirit of transparency, the MHA requests that all public meetings be broadcast via Zoom Online Conferencing, including the ZOOM ability to speak during public comment.
The MHA believes that Margate City government should accommodate all citizens. In person and online. Give all the opportunity to see our city leaders in action. Margate City leaders need to hear, what we, the taxpayers have to say. Zoom can provide for that.
Our neighbors in Ventnor, Ocean City, Stone Harbor and Atlantic County use Zoom. Attendees to those meetings can see, comment and engage the transparency of their city governments. Margate should do the same.
Please send a response as soon as possible so we can notify the general public on your position.
Jay I Weintraub
President Margate Homeowners Association and full time resident.