Nassau County axes Zoom participation, Commissioners select new Chairman

nassau bocc
Statistics on hand show public participation through online means has dwindled to nearly nothing.

There won’t be any more virtual participation at Nassau County Board of County Commissioners meetings, meaning those looking to speak out must now appear in person.

“In order to actually participate, they need to come to the podium, send an email, or (use) the other means that were always available to them before,” County Attorney Denise May told the Board during its organizational meeting. “For those reasons, Zoom will not be available for any Board meetings this or your lower boards going forward.”

She said statistics show public participation through online means has dwindled to nearly nothing. The issue came up upon review of Board procedures.

“What’s not in these procedures, and was never in your procedures, is for participation via Zoom,” May said. “The reason was because that was not allowed under Florida law. It only came into existence during the pandemic, and that was done by Gov. (Ron) DeSantis through an executive order. That executive order expired at the end of 2020, and it’s no longer valid to participate via Zoom.

“Participation using Zoom and other technology similar is problematic from a hearing perspective, from a due process perspective. Clerks cannot see who they’re swearing in, they cannot affirm the identity of anyone who may be speaking.”

Commissioners at their latest meeting also held the swearing in of new members Hupp Huppmann in District 2 and Alyson McCullough in District 4.

“I’d like to thank God for all the blessings in my life it’s been an incredible run,” Huppmann said. “I think in Nassau County what makes this county great is its community of people. Everybody. So, thank you for your trust and confidence, and I look forward to going to work hard for the county, for the people of Nassau County, and to give it my best every day.”

McCullough thanked the family and friends who assisted her during the campaign.

“I just pray that over the next four years, you will hold me accountable to the campaign, to all of the work we did, and I thank you so much,” she said.

Commission Chairman Jeff Gray turned over the Chairman’s gavel to Commissioner Klynt Farmer, who will take over the role in January. Commissioner John Martin will be the new Vice Chairman.

“I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to sit in the chairman’s role,” Gray said. “It’s an honor to serve the citizens of Nassau County as Chairman. I don’t want to dominate or hog the role. It should be this way, it’s always been this way in Nassau County, and this is why I did that. I have great confidence in both of you all as leaders.”

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe



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