CAMDEN — Camden Village Council discussed controversy over public health orders and other safety measures being taken in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic during its regular monthly meeting Thursday, July 16.
Ohio Representative J. Todd Smith spoke with council at the top of last Thursday’s meeting, saying he’d been getting calls from the council’s constituents regarding Gov. Mike DeWine’s recent admonitions to Ohio residents to wear masks when out in public.
DeWine also issued the controversial Stay At Home order and closed all public schools in Ohio in March, and more recently mandated the wearing of masks in several counties where COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed over the last few weeks.
“I hear a lot of people saying he should be impeached, but I’ll tell you what: you show me the law he broke and I’ll draw up articles of impeachment right now,” Smith said, citing legal statutes that allow the governor to sidestep some of the checks and balances of state government when it comes to issuing orders during times of emergency.
“Health orders actually have more of a legal precedent on this continent even than the Constitution,” Smith continued. “There’s a lot of things we don’t like, but that doesn’t make them illegal. I like to ask people, ‘How did you feel when they tried to impeach President Trump when he didn’t do anything?’”
Smith said that he and other representatives are trying to pass a bill to limit the governor’s authority to pass and enforce public health mandates, but that it may encounter obstacles in making its way through the legislative process.
“Guess who has to sign that law?” Smith said.
“I do think the governor is a good man,” Smith continued. “He has a good heart. But there are some of his decisions that I disagree with.”
Smith criticized DeWine for being reluctant to dip into the state’s $2.7 billion “rainy day” fund, despite statements by the governor earlier this month that he expects to spend nearly all of it by the time the COVID-19 crisis is over. Smith also discussed efforts to reduce penalties for those who violate public health mandates from a maximum fine of $750 to $25.
“Some people think everybody was sitting around eating Bon Bon’s the way they are,” Smith said. “My family and I were all considered essential — we worked through the entire thing.”
Also on Thursday:
Fiscal officer Becky Wilson recommended passing a resolution to apply for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to allow the village to purchase personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer stations.
Mayor Karen Moss recommended reaching out to village residents via Facebook to try and prevent illegal dumping in village recycling bins.
“We’re going to try a little bit of education – on the web site, Facebook, and maybe something on the water bill,” Moss said. “We want to give people a chance to straighten up.”
Board member Debbie Mason was appointed to represent Camden on the board of the Preble County Convention andVisitors Bureau.
Camden Village Council meets the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Camden Town Hall.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @improperenglish