Tuolumne County Supervisor Meetings Physically Closed To Public
Sonora, CA – Tuolumne County Supervisor meetings will switch back to being virtual for the public to attend.
County officials cite the recent surge in COVID cases. The action comes a day after a majority of yesterday’s meeting was canceled due to a mask choice protest. Click here to view the earlier story.
CAO Tracie Riggs says in a statement, “Due to the high level of community transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and in an effort to protect our employees and the community, the Board of Supervisors chambers will be closed to the public. This notice and action will remain in effect through February 2022. Further notice will be provided for future meetings.”
The county provided the options below for the public to participate in the meetings:
- Zoom Webinar via computer at: https://tuolumne-ca-gov.zoom.us/j/83330990337 and/or Phone Only: 1 (720) 707-2699 with Webinar ID: 833 3099 0337
- Written comments may be submitted by U.S. mail at 2 S. Green Street, Sonora, CA 95370, or email to BOSpublic@co.tuolumne.ca.us for retention as part of the administrative record, they will not be read during the meeting.
*Public comment via Zoom may use the ‘Raise Hand’ feature on their computer or press *9 if participating by phone to enter the queue. The Moderator will read the last four digits for phone-only participants in lieu of name.
The meetings can also be viewed on mymotherlode.com by clicking on the media tab. Rigg also noted that members of the Board of Supervisors are also allowed to participate by teleconference.
Of related note, Supervisor Anaiah Kirk released a press release about the incident as board chair. You can read it below:
The California Department of Health currently is mandating masks be worn in County Government buildings; this is set to expire on February 15, 2022. Staff members are required to wear masks on conditions of employment and the board also wears masks during its scheduled meetings.
After public comment, a member of the public removed her mask. Supervisor Goldemberg, Supervisor Campbell, and Supervisor Brandon requested she place her mask back on and if she did not, they wanted to close the board meeting. Regardless of opinions regarding masking, I believe the mask requirement is a small request for adults. This allows us to continue with County business during board meetings and allows staff to feel safe when working with the public.
I requested the individual put their mask on but advised the rest of the board I was not Newsom’s Covid Police and would not enforce any mandate on a free person of our community by removing them from the board room if they did not comply. I am not going to forcefully remove anyone from any meeting.
After returning from a short break, I re-iterated my stance and requested the three Supervisors give direction on how they would like to handle the situation. Each of the three Supervisors advised it should be the Chair (myself) who enforces the rule.
Since they were unwilling to remove her themselves, I advised them that the Sherriff was in the room and they could make their request to the Sherriff to remove her. They did not.
After discussion with staff, the remainder of the board meeting was canceled, excluding a closed session 1:30 p.m. item.
It’s unfortunate that for a year, we have had folks in board meetings remove their masks at times. Sometimes a board member would ask them to fix their mask, sometimes they would not. Now that I am chair, this being my third meeting, it has suddenly become a major issue for some members of the board, so much so, we are now closing down meetings. Selah.