I Crashed the Coolville Village Council Meeting

The other day on my Facebook newsfeed, an invite popped up to attend a WebEx for the Coolville, OH village council meeting. Full disclosure, the post was on my sister’s feed, a member of the village council.

Since I had never gotten to see her in action as an elected official, rather than, you know, as my sister, I thought it would be cool to join the WebEx feed.

I excitedly found the information Monday evening, called in, and…I couldn’t get in. I tried again, and again, no luck. Getting frustrated I reread the notice. Guess what? User error, the meeting wasn’t until this evening, Tuesday!

After realizing my error, I reset my alarm.

Today, Tuesday, just to be clear, I went in to my office, pulled up the information and called in again. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t let me in again. It was asking for information that wasn’t clear on the notice. Finally, I was able to locate the number to call in, the meeting code, and the required password.

I was in and they said hello, and asked my name. The instructions had said to come into the room on mute to ensure minimal background noise. I unmuted myself and said hello. I then heard, “Caller 5, please state your name.” I muted and unmuted myself thinking that was the issue. Nada, no such luck. They keep asking who Caller 5 is, then they do a roll call trying to figure out Caller 5. Someone keeps saying I should have the information in the e-mail I received—for the record, I didn’t receive any e-mail.

My next try was to go to the WebEx website to see if that would work (it is now a mission as much as a curiosity). WebEx site has me download the app, which I do. Now to try and join. Easy -peasy right? Nope, I have to go through the same process to figure out what information is needed (I used to think I was tech savvy?).

Finally, I’m in. And then it asks for my name. At first I’m not sure what to put. I don’t want to embarrass my sister, or really participate, or even know if I’m allowed to join although it is a public council meeting. Putting guest or citizen didn’t seem right. I go ahead and put my name in.

As soon as it popped up in the group, my sister yells, “Frank, is this my brother Frank?” Busted within two seconds! I answer in the affirmative and tell her she did invite me. When she sounds a little confused, I reminded her she had posted the invite on Facebook and thought I’d see what she does.

After some laughter, she kicks off the meeting (she is Council President I find out after).

The meeting was interesting, as I’ve found my own town council meetings to be as well. They passed a Coronavirus emergency order, reimbursed someone for mileage, and agreed to pay the village bills. It was odd to hear her reading the legalese of the documents, explaining what they wanted to do, talking about the research she had done, and leading the meeting.

I enjoyed the meeting and am glad I “crashed” it.

Thanks Sis, you did great!

Proud of you!

Love ya and see you on the flip-side of the pandemic.

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