Hualien County Council Affected by Pandemic 花蓮縣政總質詢 近8成議員因疫未出席

The epidemic has inevitably affected the operations of he Hualien County Council, with only less one-fourth of its members attending the interpellations in person due to the epidemic situation.

The Hualien County Council finished hearing reports from county departments and bureaus on May 9, and interpellations were scheduled to begin on May 10. Due to the epidemic situation, they were postponed until the 12th, 13th, and 16th. However, only seven councilors out of the 32 have indicated they will be in attendance. The others will submit written questions.

Chiu Kuang-ming, Hualien County Councilor: “All the councilors understand the disease prevention pressures on the county government, so many councilors submitted written questions.”

Li Wen-cheng, Hualien County Councilor: “Hualien has the highest contagion ratio, so we need to think twice before holding gatherings.”

Residents expressed concerns about the impact of the absences on the oversight of county affairs. They didn't understand how schools can hold classes online but the county council is unable to hold an interpellation online.

Ms. Wan, Hualien Resident: “It's not difficult to hold an interpellation through a videoconference. I think the council needs to find a way past this issue.”

Mr. Yang, Hualien Resident: “It does seem like we're losing some oversight. There's no need to read too much into what percentage of councilors can attend.”

The council said regulations on official business allow for written questions and official business sessions are broadcasted online by the local media, so the rights and interests of councilors and residents are not affected. At present, the council cannot conduct two-way questioning via videoconferencing due to a lack of equipment.