Langley council reschedules meeting due to agenda error

Video conferencing may seem like the perfect way to recreate face-to-face public meetings, albeit virtually. However, issues with the online application may be limiting accessibility.

Langley officials decided to cancel the city’s council meeting Monday night, due to an incorrect web link for the Zoom conference that was listed in the meeting’s agenda.

A citizen was not able to access the meeting and called a council member to ask what was going on.

Mayor Tim Callison suggested cancelling the meeting and rescheduling it, since any action taken would be “taken in the dark.”

“Any actions that you take will be negated,” Callison said.

City leaders referenced the school board meeting that the Coupeville School District had to re-do last month because of technical difficulties with Google Stream.

Langley council members agreed that proceeding with the meeting without sufficient notice to the public that the web link had been updated would be risky.

“I just feel there’s enough issues going on in the city, in the state, in the nation that we would be better off being safer than sorry, not having the meeting tonight,” Councilman Thomas Gill said.

The council decided to reschedule the meeting for next Monday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m.

Even with the best intentions to hold a public meeting that maintains social distancing, there are other issues with Zoom and similar teleconferencing programs.

The delivery of information can suffer when the audio quality of video streaming is poor due to lag or being “glitchy.”

Last week during a Zoom-hosted Coupeville Town Council meeting, there was a moment during the meeting where a city employee’s comments were unintelligible. A percentage the city worker was in the middle of discussing was lost in the Ethernet — at least to the reporter who was phoning in to the meeting.

Councils, boards and courts across the state have turned to teleconferencing, but officials have found that things don’t always go smoothly.