Screech! City Council Delivers Its First Virtual Meeting In History

Dog barking, ear-splitting echo chamber, City Council members talking over one another (what else is new), Bridgeport’s legislative body conducted its first video/telephonic meeting in history Monday night.

The long and short of it (and it was relatively short), the agenda items see here passed with little discussion.

Still, it was something of a fascination, an announced quorum in which council members could see each other via video presumably home or in a sequestered office and the public could listen in by a phone conference line.

When OIB joined at 7 p.m. for the start of the meeting, the teleconference announced 40 participants.

Mayor Joe Ganim, as is typical, conducted the meeting, councilman Ernie Newton delivered a prayer because Rev. Mary McBride-Lee could not be heard, councilman Matt McCarthy led the pledge of allegiance, council president Aidee Nieves urged everyone to stay calm.

In these extraordinary times of social distancing technology is a work-in-progress, backup plan.

It was chaotic, surreal and real. At one point Ganim announced to council members: I can’t hear you, if you can hear me raise your hand to speak.

Monday night was not about substance, but process: how to conduct the people’s business from remote locations, beyond the cacophony of City Council chambers at 45 Lyon Terrace, during a health emergency.

And so it goes.



  1. The agendas items passed with little exception. That says it all.
    All in favor Aye
    Vote so ordered
    All in favor of adjourning Aye
    Meeting Adjourned
    See you next meeting.

  2. The usual “rubber stamp” type of meeting’s that go on, weather on a conference video screen or in person are one & the same , no? ***JUST SAYING***

  3. Skidmarks!
    When the Mayor holds an online meeting, it’s city-centric, concerns vital issues and is heard by anyone who uses widely available devices. He’s got the common touch.
    When the CC holds a virtual meeting, it’s “members only”, concerns trivial issues and requires an authorization number to listen.

  4. Did you think that the business of the City Council was to deliver a “virtual meeting” or was it to do the business of the people? It’s not easy conducting business that includes presenting materials possibly and having discussions when folks are technologically challenged. However, if teachers are using chromebooks to communicate content as well as to lecture and have discussions perhaps we can bring virtual meetings up to a practical standard soon.
    Perhaps Council member stipends can be used to provide each of them with quality equipment to see and hear meeting content, and to register a moment when they wish to speak (short of raising their hands)? And the “historic virtual meeting” can be viewed where and when? Time will tell.

    1. “Perhaps Council member stipends can be used to provide each of them with quality equipment to see and hear meeting content”

      John,As I’m sure you know,the Council Member’s Stipends AREN’T for buying equipment to see&hear meeting content…Those stipends are for vacations or as they are commonly referred to “conferences”,also a nice dinner or two at various restaurants,utility payments, etc,etc…..


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