– Council meetings return to ZOOM broadcasts | News
The Georgetown City Council meetings will return to ZOOM starting with Monday’s regular meeting.
Mayor Tom Prather emailed a letter to council members Thursday afternoon alerting them of the change.
“As promised in our last meeting, I write to address the questions about meeting format for upcoming Georgetown City Council meetings,” wrote the mayor. “Given the severity of the COVID-19 surge in city and our recent experiences with in-person meetings, this is an important decision that has required thinking about health and safety at council meetings.
“Every member of the Georgetown City Council, each of our citizens and city staff deserve to participate fully in the business of the city without fear for their personal well-being and health. It is my responsibility to provide a council meeting environment that is both productive and safe. In an effort to keep everyone safe and continue to have council meetings in person, we have asked council members, guests and staff to wear masks during council meetings. We now know that not all council members or some invited guests will comply with our courtesy request and will refuse to wear masks despite the health concerns of others.
“Therefore, I am left no alternative but to return to a Zoom meeting format for Georgetown City Council meetings and Council Committee meetings effective immediately. The council meeting scheduled for September 13, 2021, will be a Zoom meeting. This is, of course, subject to any changes the Kentucky General Assembly may enact during the special session.
“I wish to thank the many council members, citizens and staff willing to cooperate, mask up and continue to try to meet in person. We look forward to meeting together in person again as our community works to recover from COVID-19. We have important work to do and we will get it done. Georgetown deserves our best efforts.”
Last month, Prather emailed a similar letter asking council members to wear a mask during the next meeting as some council members and city administration officials with health issues expressed concern about the recent surge of the Delta variant. Prather, himself, is immunocompromised as is at least one council member and a city administration officer.
When the August meeting was held, council member Karen Tingle-Sames was the only council member without a mask. When asked by Prather, Tingle-Sames responded that it was her choice and she had decided not to wear a mask. Council member Willow Hambrick, who has an assigned seat beside Tingle-Sames, had collected her materials prior to the start of the meeting and moved across the room when she saw Tingle-Sames without a mask.
Prather called Tingle-Sames’ actions, “selfish.” Hambrick left the meeting after the exchange between the Prather and Tingle-Sames and later noted that her husband and son are doctors who are treating COVID patients in their respective practices.
All but three people in the audience at the meeting wore a mask.
Tingle-Sames has since said she has difficulty breathing when wearing a mask, after being hospitalized earlier in the year.
The city council meeting can be viewed on the City of Georgetown’s YouTube channel. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13. The meeting is recorded and can be viewed at anytime on the YouTube channel.