Council meetings now fully open for in-person attendance

Jay Hinton
Glen Rose Reporter
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GLEN ROSE — With Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement earlier this month to lift the mask mandate and open the state of Texas up 100%, the Glen Rose City Offices followed suit and fully opened up city hall for business in addition to the in-person council meetings.

Tuesday’s specially called council meeting was the first to be held fully in-person since shutting down last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior meetings had limited seating for the public or no seating.

Glen Rose City Councilman Chip Joslin had an item placed on the March 9 city council agenda asking that the city open all council meetings up to full capacity. At the meeting, Mayor Pam Miller called it a moot item because of the governor’s orders issued a few days prior.

“We will always follow what the governor has said,” she said.

Glen Rose city secretary Stephanie Ritchie clarified a city resolution concerning the governor’s orders.

“We have a resolution that states that the city is going to following all of Gov. Abbott’s suggestions,” she said, also stating that it would remain that way until the council rescinds its prior resolution or amend it.

“With that being said, I believe Gov. Abbott has left that where you can choose to follow CDC guidelines, but with your (the city council’s) particular action right at this moment, it’s open,” she said.

In January, the Glen Rose City Council voted to move the monthly city council meeting to the second Tuesday of each month, instead of the second Monday of each month, to allow council members more time to review their packets and conduct research on agenda items.

Glen Rose City Councilwoman Kelly Harris is happy that the meetings will now reopen to the public.

“They need be open so people can hear for themselves. They can speak for themselves. They can ask questions afterward if they need to,” she said. “I think the public needs to be informed.”

Joslin agreed.

“It is incredibly important for all of the citizens of our town to attend the meetings at Glen Rose City Hall to know what is truly going on,” he said.

During the year or so when in-person attendance at council meetings wasn’t allowed, the city did broadcast the meetings via the internet. However, the connections weren’t always good, and, at times, it was difficult to understand what was being said, and the public was limited on its participation in the form of asking questions or asking for clarification on issues.

Harris also said a lot of the older population in Glen Rose either don’t have access to computers with stable internet or don’t know how to maneuver Zoom, so having meetings in-person will benefit them.

“I think so many people have been in the dark since they kept it closed for like a year, and now they want to hear and see what's really going on,” she said.

For those still concerned about the COVID-19 virus, meetings will still be available online via Zoom. Meeting information can be found on the city’s website at www.glenrosetexas.org.