Shrewsbury Selectmen Start Using Remote Participation

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Henry Fitzgerald's seat at Tuesday's the board of selectmen meeting was empty. He was the first selectman to participate in a meeting remotely. Photo Credit: John Swinconeck

SHREWSBURY, Mass. — The voice of absent Selectman Henry Fitzgerald echoed through the selectmen's meeting room Tuesday as the Shrewsbury board used remote participation for the first time.

Fitzgerald cast votes and communicated with the board — and town at large — via speakerphone.

Other than the voice over the speakerphone, the only other noticeable difference during Tuesday's meeting was the use of roll call votes, required by Fitzgerald's absence.

Selectmen approved the use of remote participation by town boards last month.

Shrewsbury board members are allowed to cast votes via phone, Internet, satellite connection, video conference or other means if they are unable to physically attend a meeting due to illness, disability, emergency, military service or geographic distance.

Fitzgerald was allowed to do so because of "hardship of distance," Chair Maurice DePalo said.

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