Remote Meeting Tools

As 2020 meetings and events continue to go virtual, it’s important that Ohio township officials and staff receive and understand the information and training needed to feel confident in the virtual world. Whether it be a monthly township meeting, a county meeting or simply a check-in with staff, participants will need to be comfortable with new technology. Once comfortable with said new tech, officials and staff will unlock a new world of engagement in a virtual setting. 

The OTA has created a short YouTube video detailing some of the tools and resources that can assist township officials and staff in becoming comfortable with virtual meetings and events. Check it out by clicking here, and look out for future YouTube resources from the OTA!

Please see changes to the Open Meetings Act under the state of emergency under its respective menu tab. Click here to view a helpful guide/chart from Guernsey County Prosecutor Joel Blue regarding public meetings during COVID-19. 

The OTA, in collaboration with OSU Extension - Community Development, put together a webinar on electronic meetings with a tutorial on using Zoom for townships that may need assistance getting started. Below are links to the webinar and materials presented in the video.

Additionally, the OTA and OSU Extension collaborated on a mock electronic township meeting. The video (linked below) features staff in various roles, such as trustees, a zoning inspector, a member of the media, and a fiscal officer, and may be a helpful guide for conducting your own electronic meeting. For best practices, refer to the link in the bulletpoints above. 

The following are resources and tools townships can use when holding remote meetings. The OTA does not endorse any specific program. 

  • Facebook Live (step-by-step overview here; Blueprint learning course here)

Though generally only one person can go live at one time on Facebook, with the third party tool Be.Live, multiple parties can stream to an official Facebook page. 

  • Facebook for Government, Politics and Advocacy (links to a page of resources on engaging with constituents and communities)
  • Zoom (the meeting could be held on Zoom and livestreamed via Facebook Live to an official Facebook page)
  • Workplace for Government (free for governments and emergency responders for the next 12 months; uses simple and secure tools)
  • YouTube (links to a guide to hosting virtual events on YouTube)

Teleconference and video conference options available to townships include FreeConferenceCall, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Facebook Live, GoogleMeets, Skype, Webex, AnyMeeting, JoinMe, and eztalks.

Townships may wish to reach out their local library, school district, ESC or board of county commissioners to discuss potentially partnering with or contracting for the use of IT services for this purpose.
*Note: This list is not exhaustive, and the OTA does not endorse any particular product.