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COVID-19 authority for O’Fallon officials remains in effect

At the March 26 council meeting, Bill No. 7183 [Ordinance No. 6659] was passed unanimously, granting special temporary authority to the mayor and the city administrator. Special authority was conferred to facilitate rapid decision-making needed for public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic when such decisions and actions could not wait until council meetings. However, the council was to be kept fully informed about decisions and actions in a timely manner.

At the June 25 council meeting, Bill No. 7203 to rescind that special authority was sponsored by Mayor Bill Hennessy and given a first reading.  The expectation at that time was that the pandemic was on a track to no longer need rapid and urgent decisions and actions. 

When the bill came up for second reading and vote for passage at the July 9 council meeting, some council members expressed concern about the latest trends of the pandemic going in the wrong direction. They proposed tabling the bill in order to keep the special authority in place until the trend could be reassessed over the next two weeks. They expressed comfort with and confidence in how the mayor and city administrator had been using the special authority. They also felt fully informed in a timely manner. The council unanimously approved tabling the bill until July 23.

At the July 23 council meeting, the council again voted unanimously to keep the bill tabled until the next meeting on Aug. 13, because COVID-19 trends in St. Charles County and the State of Missouri were still going in the wrong direction, with numbers of cases and deaths rising instead of falling.

The special authority remains in effect until at least Aug. 13, by which time pandemic trends might justify a different path forward.

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