Jay Vavricek, a local business owner and former Grand Island mayor, asked if the new board will be bound by local meetings law and open to the public, and if the board can be petitioned.
“Going forward, I think it would be wise to clear the fact that, is this a self-appointed board with the effect of making enforcements or regulations, or is it an advisory one as well?”
He added, “I believe in local control.”
The board itself will not have the authority to create a mask mandate, council members said. It can only offer a recommendation to the City Council.
Resident Adam Conlon questioned why a Board of Health was being created after one should have been in place, per statute, since 1962.
“Are you trying to absolve yourselves of any responsibility of enforcing a mask mandate on the people of Grand Island?” he asked. “People are going to remember who voted to put this in, and you all are going to put in people who will put in the agenda you want and not look at things objectively and fairly.”
Nickerson said the city is only complying with state statute.
“We’re not imposing this,” he said. “The state is telling us we should have had this in place and now we’re doing what we should have done. That’s really what we’re doing.”