Letter: Hold Tim Corrigan accountable
During recent public health meetings, several citizens criticized our public health officials and expressed disagreement with their conclusions and recommendations to our commissioners. Hopefully, we can agree that the right to redress the government of a grievance is not only articulated in the First Amendment, it is ingrained in American culture that citizens may express disagreement with government.
Mr. Corrigan, however, took a dramatically different approach during the May 18 Board of Health meeting. After public health officials discussed vaccine efficacy and science as the basis of their recommendations, Mr. Corrigan introduced public comment by saying, “I want to remind people that public comment is not a platform to talk about folks’ opinions on science and vaccines but rather again to limit that comment directly to the question at hand.”
After this statement, several citizens agreed with and thanked our public health staff in public comments. Citizens that disagreed with certain ideas expressed by our public health staff during the public meeting, however, were expressly forbidden from sharing their ideas.
Mr. Corrigan strangely declared, “Public comment is not a platform to talk about folks’ opinions on science and vaccines,” although science and vaccines were discussed as the basis of the recommendations offered to the commissioners by our public health officials. Public health officials could discuss their “opinions on science and vaccines” during the public meeting, but citizens couldn’t, according to Mr. Corrigan.
Although public comments aren’t required in public meetings, when they are allowed, the chair must respect the First Amendment and not exercise viewpoint discrimination. Hopefully, the county attorney will publicly address the matter and ensure the community that Routt County respects the First Amendment rights of all citizens.
As for Mr. Corrigan, after imposing the absurd condition in Routt County where the bartender had to wear a mask but not the 20 people sitting at the bar, then ignoring the First Amendment through his demand to control the relevant expressions of others during a public meeting — he should either apologize to the community with a promise that his abusive behavior won’t be repeated, resign immediately or be removed from office by voters as soon as possible.
Our community simply can’t accept a commissioner that will disregard the First Amendment and deliberately suppress relevant ideas from being exchanged by citizens during our public meetings.
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