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Special authority for O’Fallon officials rescinded

The O’Fallon City Council, at its Aug. 13 meeting, rescinded the special authority given to O’Fallon officials during the pandemic.

On March 26, the council had unanimously conferred special temporary authority to the mayor and the city administrator (Bill No. 7183/Ordinance No. 6659). The purpose was to enable 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. The council was to be kept fully informed about decisions and actions in a timely manner.

On June 25, Bill No. 7203, sponsored by Mayor Bill Hennessy, was given a first reading. The council then tabled the second reading and vote for passage at its subsequent meetings on July 9 and July 23. Both times, they had considered the trend of the pandemic and agreed it still was heading in the wrong direction. The council had agreed the special authority still was needed, and that they were comfortable with how the mayor and city administrator had been using the special authority. They also had felt fully informed in a timely manner.

At the Aug. 13 meeting, the council voted 9-0 to pass the bill and rescind the special authority. Council member Jeff Kuehn (Ward 4) was excused. Any future decisions needed for actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be made by the full city council.

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