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The group attempting to participate in the Hoboken City Council meeting in person are turned away

The group attempting to participate in the Hoboken City Council meeting in person are turned away

Seven members of the public gathered at City Hall for Wednesday's City Council meeting and were relegated as the council conducted Zoom.

Since March 18, 2020, Hoboken's council meetings have virtually ended.

Council President Ruben Ramos said at the November meeting, "Hopefully our next meeting, Dec. 1, we'll go back to in person... I'll see you at City Hall next council meeting everyone."

I was like, OK, it's in person, he's the council president he makes that decision, so I'm going to go, Paul Presinzano, one of the members of the public who came up on Wednesday.

Ramos and Councilmember Jen Giattino attended the meeting at City Hall, where they registered onto the Zoom call.

When Presinzano and the other members of the public attempted to enter, a security officer said they were not allowed in, Presinzano said. When the council learned that people were outside, Ramos wanted to let them in, but Business Administrator Jason Freeman overruled that decision, Presinzano said.

We're not allowed in. Several attempts were made to enter, but we're denied.Several attempts were made to enter, but we're denied.

Day 28:People showed up in person for the Council meeting. President Ramos instructed security to let us in. The Business Administrator overruled. Elected officials wanted the public present but were denied! BTW Board of Ed meetings in person

When asked why, city spokeswoman Marilyn Baer said, "As approved by the Hoboken City Council, the City Clerk advertised and noticed the council meeting as a virtual meeting to be held via Zoom."

Hoboken City Hall is now only open by appointment. Other elected entities in Hudson County, including the Hoboken Board of Education, county Board of Commissioners, and Bayonne City Council, have resigned in-person meetings months ago.

Presinzano made a campaign for City Council in November and advocated for City Hall to reopen without the appointment limits on Twitter. Four of the seven individuals who tried to attend in person Wednesday were recent City Council candidates, Presinzano stated.

Ramos' last statement about holding the Dec. 1 meeting was made during discussions that council members and residents asked why the building was not entirely open, and Freeman stated that the present appointments system was what Mayor Ravi Bhalla's administration continued to consider best.

I just want to apologize to the members of the public outside that were trying to assist the council meeting in person, Ramos stated at the beginning of Wednesday's meeting. I know last council meeting I said I will be here, and I was hoping to be joined by members of the public as well, but unfortunately the members of the council are not responsible for letting people into the building.

After that, Councilman Jim Doyle requested that a clear decision be made before the next meeting over whether or not it would be in-person.

I'd want to know if we're going to be in City Hall so I can be there, Doyle explained.

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