An ordinance being introduced next Tuesday in the Battle Creek City Commission would make it possible for military service members to take part in public meetings.

Last December, Michigan’s Open Meetings Act was amended to require public bodies to accommodate the absence of members of the body due to military duty, and this ordinance would bring Battle Creek into compliance. If any member of the Commission were to need to leave town for active military duty, they would need to notify the City Manager, who would then have the City Clerk made a public notice of their absence for each meeting they would be gone for; they would also make it known that they could still be reached via the City of Battle Creek's website, or via a written message left at the City Manager's office.

The City's IT director would be tasked with updating systems to allow the serving Commissioner to take place in Commission activities; they would be allowed to vote on issues via this method.

It’s estimated that it would cost around $3,400 to update the phones in Commission Chambers to allow the 2-way teleconferencing.

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