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Lafayette City and Parish Councils find ways to move forward amid COVID-19

Posted at 11:03 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 00:03:54-04

Amid COVID-19, local government is finding ways to move forward all while aiming to keep leaders and constituents safe.

Tuesday night was the first time the Lafayette Parish Council and City Council met in a month.

As always, the meeting was streamed on AOC and online, but with the public not allowed in the council auditorium, technology is playing a further role to allow the public to participate in the process of government.

"The whole democratic process, you need to know what government is doing to you and AOC has been people's way of doing that without having to go," said Ed Bowie, executive director of AOC Community Media.

For more than 20 years, AOC has broadcasted council meetings. Since the public is not allowed inside the council auditorium, AOC and LCG setup a phone number for constitutents to call in.

"In the times we're in right now, we have to take precaution and we have to do the right thing, following our leaders in the community," said Parish Council Chair Kevin Naquin.

Though Tuesday's meeting had a different vibe, Naquin said he's proud that some residents are aware of the agenda items and want to be heard.

"We don't want to set a precedent that we're trying to do business while the economy is down, while people are not there and that we're trying to slide things underneath and not be transparent," Naquin said. "We're trying to be fully transparent."

Naquin is hopeful residents continue to get involved because government is not stopping and people need to be part of the process.

"They all had their five minutes and overall, I think it was great," Naquin said.

Bowie said, "The need for people to be involved has never been more important. How we're going to evolve as a community and a society is being changed whether we like it or not. If you don't pay attention, it might be changed to someone else's advantage, but if you get involved, you can engage and change this community to your own advantage."

If you missed the council meetings, you can watch a rebroadcast on AOC or watch online.

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