Knox County Commission votes to approve resolution to remove board of health power

The Knox County Board of Health could see a reduction in power after the county commission approved a resolution 8 to 3 Monday night.
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County Commissioners voted 8 to 3 to approve a resolution intended to reduce the power of the Knox County Board of Health.

The meeting went well past midnight, the resolution has no legal impact on the regulations enacted by the Board of Health. It was a signal from the Commission that they oppose the authority of the health board. Authority established by the state and Knox County law.

Supporters and opponents of the Board of Health rallied outside and spoke during the meeting. They were distinguished by who was and wasn’t wearing masks. Over 40 people signed up to speak.

“I’d like to lower the temperature here... It’s almost abusive what is going on here... I’m asking this commission to at least endorse the efforts of the board of health,” said supporter Edward Patrick.

A woman expressed that she felt the board’s decision to enforce mask mandates constitutes government overreach.

“All the people who are wearing masks are damaging their bodies,” said another woman who questioned whether officials had done their research. “When we start telling people two years old and up to wear a mask, that is not right.”

The commission voted approximately 11:30 on a resolution expressing disapproval of the Board of Health’s authority. Commissioner Terry Hill tried to postpone the resolution on the grounds that it was meaningless.

The Commission also voted to appoint a citizen representative to the Board of Health. The new board member is Ani Roma. She’s a certified teacher who teaches health at Hardin Valley Middle School. She’s also a mom and a local business owner.

Commissioners interviewed multiple candidates under consideration for a citizen representative position on the Knox County Board of Health.

The meeting ended at 1:30 a.m.

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