COVID–19 Alert: New Jersey Alters Public Meeting Procedures During the Pandemic

While many New Jersey Municipal Buildings are currently closed to the general public due to the COVID-19 outbreak, filings of applications and permits are being accepted, although processing is dependent upon staff availability. Many municipalities are permitting employees to work remotely or are alternating employee’s in office work schedules. Government essential service employees are still working but with revised schedules as needed to protect all employees. However, some municipalities, on a case by case basis, are permitting appointments by the public.

New Jersey Governor Murphy has signed into law emergency Assembly Bill 3850 to permit public bodies (including commissions, authorities, boards, councils, committees, or other groups of 2 or more persons organized under the law of New Jersey and collectively empowered as a voting body to perform governmental functions) to conduct public meetings, and conduct public business (including discussion, vote, receive communication, open meetings to  the public  for questions and receive public comment) via electronic means during  periods of emergency.

Many municipalities have now commenced conducting public meetings via electronic means. Announcements of such meetings are being posted on each Municipality’s web site as well as instructions as to how the public can connect to the meeting and participate.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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