City Council Meeting

Swearing In Ceremony -  Four O'Neill Council members were sworn in at Monday's meeting at the O'Neill Community Center. Pictured are (l-r): Tim Gleason, Kayla Burdik, Suzie Kramer and Quana Kelly. Burdik was the only new member to be sworn in by city attorney Boyd Strope.

It was a packed venue of 60 people or at least as packed as social distancing would allow at Monday's O'Neill City Council meeting.

The meeting was divided on both sides of the aisle about whether the city would enact a mask mandate for its citizens. Twenty-one people spoke their minds on mask usage and the implications of forcing citizens to do so.

The council listened to doctors and nurses stress on how we need to have a mask mandate and prepare for what may come if we don't heed the warnings of what has already taken place in the bigger cities like New York with the facilities becoming overrun with patients.

Roger Wiese of the NCDHD spoke briefly on the benefits of wearing a mask and how it has kept infection numbers down in the schools in the NCDHD's district. "We have had good luck with the schools wearing masks and I believe it would help out our communities to keep infection numbers down," said Wiese.

Members of the opposition, including members of outside organizations from Omaha, touted ideas taken from the internet and thrown up as fact with some including scripture quotes to fuel the fire.

A few local opposition members did state facts and concerns about employees who couldn't tolerate a mask and the council's stance on enforcing a possible mandate. The opposition also brought up the constitutionality of forcing people to wear a mask and how it wasn't right to take away one's liberty by forcing them to wear a mask.

After closing the open hearing Mayor Scott Menish received a motion and second for Resolution 20-14 stating that the O'Neill City Council strongly recommends wearing a mask and recommending other safety measures. The resolution passed on a vote of 5-3. Voting for the resolution was Beth Walsh, Tim Gleason, Don Baker, Tim Schneider and Quana Kelly. Voting against were Kayla Burdick, Susie Kramer and Terri Krysl.

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