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Commissioners reluctantly accept governor's mask mandate

Staff writer

Unhappy county commissioners concluded at a special meeting Friday that they really couldn't change much about a mask mandate being imposed by Governor Laura Kelly. On Monday, in a meeting that will be more fully reported in this week's print editions, they unanimously voted to adopt the plan.

Commissioner Randy Dallke, who was on the losing side of a vote a week ago to impose a county mask mandate, pointed out that Kelly's mandate appeared to have no penalties in it.

But commissioners Jonah Gehring, Kent Becker, and Dianne Novak, who rejected Dallke's call for a county mandate Monday, weren’t happy that the state mandate was issued.

Kelly's executive order was to have taken effect Wednesday unless counties adopted a differing mandate.

At last week’s meeting, when commissioners turned deaf ears to pleas from medical practitioners, local health authorities, and citizens in refusing to impose a mask mandate, only Dallke and commissioner David Crofoot, who voted in favor of the mandate, wore masks. At Friday’s meeting and again at Monday's meeting, Gehring and Becker wore disposable masks. Novak still didn’t wear one.

Crofoot commented Friday about her lack of a mask. She told him she had a note from her doctor saying she didn’t have to wear one.

"Show it to me," Crofoot said.

Novak pulled a piece of paper out of her purse and handed it to him. He encouraged her to show the slip to a reporter from the Marion County Record.

"I’m not going to show that to her!" Novak retorted.

After reviewing the order line by line without the county's legal counsel present Friday, commissioners decided there was nothing they could do.

A more detailed report will appear in this Wednesday's Marion County Record.

Last modified Nov. 24, 2020

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