Essex Council To Debate Use Of Electronic Devices During Meetings

A motion to restrict cell phone and tablet use during Essex town council will be debated at an Aug. 12 meeting.

Essex Mayor Ron McDermott brought the motion to council Tuesday.

McDermott told AM800 News some councillors are using their devices to make posts on their social media pages or even commenting while the meeting is going on instead of paying attention.

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche says in this day and age cell phones and tablets have their place in public meetings, but agrees with the mayors stance in some respects.

Meloche says McDermott has a point when questioning the need for a limit on when people choose to use the web.

"There's some respect owed to each councillor and individual persons that are talking from the community that we at least pay attention to what each other are saying," says Meloche. "From his perspective we shouldn't be emailing or using our iPhones."

He says social media has become part of life and giving residents information as it happens is something most councils are learning is a part of the job.

"I believe you're going to see that more and more with the younger generation coming up," Meloche says. "I have a certain amount of Facebook and Tweeting that I do as well, but it's limited compared to probably my kids for instance."

At the end of the day Meloche says it's up to councillors to know when it's appropriate to use electronic devices.

"As individual councilors you have to look at yourself and make that judgment call as to whether you're abusing usage and not paying attention to the meeting," he says.

Meloche doesn't think there will be an outright ban in council.

He says there should be a compromise that can be reached that's fair for everybody involved.