As the public continues to deal with the Coronavirus, some local governments are suspending regular public meetings.
Manchester Village Council met in a special meeting on Thursday, March 26. The meeting was opened by Mayor Teresa Blythe, however, as soon as she opened the meeting the Village Solicitor Thomas Mayes took over. The council considered Resolution 2020-12 “Declaring a State of Emergency” in the Village of Manchester due to the Coronavirus Disease Outbreak. Text of the resolution says that a “real and present emergency exists in the village effecting the public health and safety of residents necessitating the purchase and acquisition of certain items and services by Mayor Teresa Blythe and Council President Christine Henderson.” The resolution also gives Blythe and Henderson to take any and all steps necessary to maintain order and control in Manchester.
According to Councilman Troy Jolly, only two members of the public were present for the special meeting, and it is unclear of what methods were used to advertise the special meeting. The resolution was passed 4-2 with Counil members Jolly and Irene Shiveley objecting. Jolly expressed his concerns with the resolution and frustration at the current situation. Essentially, council has been suspended and two people, the Mayor and Council President are making decisions, according to Jolly.
“I want the public to know and see the seriousness of this issue. I thought we were a democracy not a dictatorship,” said Jolly. “And this resolution is in full force, we have been discharged of our duties until Governor DeWine decides to wake up and stop with his info-commercials and scaring the public and suspend his emergency orders.”
Not all villages have suspended council powers in Adams County. Manchester joined West Union, however, West Union suspended council meetings by an executive order by Mayor Jason Buda. Buda said that all essential services will be performed and bills would be paid. If a major event or expense occurred, a special meeting would be called for Council members to report.
According to Seaman Mayor David Hughes, it is business as usual and nothing has changed for the Village. The Council will operate as scheduled.
The Villages of Peebles and Winchester were not immediately able to respond for this story.