Those who virtually attended Prospect Heights City Council meetings may have noticed a slight change of heart for Zoom meetings held by the city.
Out of the number of towns the Journal & Topics covers for public meetings, only a select few offered a Zoom option for those attending virtually, especially during the COVID pandemic.
At the time, Zoom meeting access codes were included on the bi-weekly meeting agendas, but since the middle of May they have been removed.
Prospect Heights officials said they still offer live streaming services via local channel 17 and Youtube replays, but no Zoom.
“With the termination of the governor’s emergency COVID declaration, Prospect Heights is returning to the format of our meetings prior to the declaration,” City Administrator Joe Wade said.
“Twice technical difficulties caused delays which threatened the cancellation of meetings. If the city utilizes Zoom and it fails, eliminating public participation,
we are in violation of the Open Meetings Act, which is a serious matter.”
Besides city official input, an incident occurred during a Zoom meeting in April where a “porn hack” occurred on the city’s livestream.
There has been no public mention of it by Prospect Heights since it happened. It is also unknown whether Wade’s comments of “technical difficulties” had to do with the porn hack.
A porn hack can be used on Zoom as a way to disrupt a video call by displaying offensive or obscene images or videos.
“The Zoom feature of our meetings served its purpose during the emergency declaration period, but our priority is to function as a government first,” Wade said.
“State law still allows elected officials to participate via Zoom for defined reasons.”
The Prospect Heights City Council meeting Monday, July 10 did see Wade update the Zoom situation, stating that it will be looked at soon.