Zoomer’s remorse? Commissioners set to reconsider decision to meet virtually for next 60 days

The Livingston County Board of Commissioners is apparently reconsidering its decision to meet via Zoom for the next 60 days.

(*This post has been updated to include a statement from the chairperson of the Livingston County Democrats.)

In an epic four-and-a-half meeting on Monday, March 22, 2021, commissioners voted to continue meeting via Zoom for the next 60 days. The mechanism to allow the virtual meetings is the adoption of a Declaration of Emergency, which covers only how the board meets.

The vote to approve the virtual meetings was 5-4. Commissioners Carol Griffith, Kate Lawrence, Brenda Plank and Jay Gross voted to continue virtual meetings for the next two months. Lawrence said she was interested to see where the county stands in relation to COVID vaccinations during that time.

Voting to end virtual meetings were Chairperson Wes Nakagiri, and commissioners Mitch Zajac, Doug Helzerman and Jay Drick.

The reason for reconsidering the resolution isn’t clear.

The decision of the commissioners could have a ripple effect on other public boards.

“At a time when the positivity rate for the last seven days of COVID testing in Livingston County is rising and currently stands at 11.8%, I sincerely hope the County Commissioners will stand by their resolution declaring a state of emergency through May 31, 2021,” said Holly Ward Lamb, director of the Howell Carnegie District Library. “This declaration allows the Howell Carnegie District Library Board of Trustees to continue meeting virtually, fully complying with the Open Meetings Act without putting anyone at unnecessary risk of exposure during a global pandemic.”

Judy Daubenmier, chairperson of the Livingston County Democrats, blasted the Livingston County Board of Commissioners on its decision to revisit the vote:

“Our county commission wasted more than four hours of the public’s time earlier this week on debating the staff’s very reasonable request for a declaration of emergency that would allow local governmental bodies to meet remotely for the next 60 days due to the covid pandemic. Revisiting this is the height of idiocy. They are playing politics with people’s health just to uphold the Big Lie that COVID isn’t real. They are a disgrace and a danger to public health. I really would like to know what favors were handed out to get someone to change their vote to allow reconsideration of this measure.”

Other Livingston County communities, including the Village of Pinckney and Green Oak Township, have declared their own emergencies.

You can read our coverage of Monday’s meeting in this post.

Commissioners: Use $37.2M stimulus to position county for a high-tech future

You can read WHMI’s coverage of the meeting by clicking here.

Here is the information you’ll need if you’d like to attend Monday’s special meeting:
Meeting ID: 399-700-0062 / Password: LCBOC

If you have trouble joining the meeting with this information, you can click here for the Livingston County Board of Commissioners Virtual Meetings webpage.

If you’ve got four-and-a-half hours to spare, you can watch the March 22, 2021, meeting for yourself:

Here is the agenda of the special meeting:

Commissioners Special Meeting Agenda

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

1 Comment

  1. it is embarrassing to have the county commissioners to even have had to have four hours to decide to do the right thing, and then to decide to do it all over again. COVID is real, and removing the ability to attend commissioner meetings virtually, which this would do, is making the process of government inaccessible to those of us who understand that COVID is real. Michigan currently holds 6 of the top 10 hot spots in the entire United States. THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, and this county seems to think that we are some how invincible. Disgusting.

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