Sedgwick County Commissioners share thoughts after voting to keep Gov. Kelly’s order as strong recommendation

Coronavirus in Kansas

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County Commissioners spent their Thursday afternoon going back and forth for about two hours to decide the county’s fate for a mask mandate.

They ultimately voted 3-2 in favor of adopting the order as a strong recommendation and not a mandate. Commissioners Lacey Cruse and Jim Howell voted in opposition.

Cruse was frustrated after making her plea to adopt the mask mandate.

“Recommendations don’t work and giving someone another recommendation is opening up for numbers to increase for people to get sick and a potential shutdown to happen again in the future.”

As for commissioner Howell, he tried to get the commission to wait before taking any further action with the executive order.

“We could’ve taken our time today to add some clarifying language. As it’s currently written, I think you’re going to see a lot of confusion in the community based on what we just passed, and I think we can do better.”

During the meeting, some community members waited outside to show their support for Governor Laura Kelly’s order including Wichita Pediatrician Dr. Amy Seery who believes a mandate is the best option right now.

“One of my biggest fears is that we don’t adopt this measure, and in the next few weeks, things are probably going to get really rough here in Sedgwick County.”

On the other hand, some commissioners like Michael O’Donnell felt a mandate was not practical.

“We heard almost immediately from Sheriff Easter and Chief Ramsay that they don’t have the desire or the manpower to actually enforce the mandate. So what’s the point of having a mandate that’s unenforceable?”

Commissioner David Dennis felt it is best to leave it up to the community to step up and take their recommendation seriously.

“It’s an education process I think that we need to try that first, but as I said if it doesn’t work, then, we are going to have to go with mandates, and I’d sure hate to do that.”

Chairman Pete Meitzner says if case numbers get worse he will be quick to call a special meeting once again to revisit the Governor’s mask mandate.

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