Knox County commissioner withdraws proposal for extended Board of Health public forum

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knox County Board of Health won’t host a public forum at their meetings after a commissioner withdrew the proposal to make it a more regular meeting feature.

Knox County Commissioner Kyle Ward has withdrawn his ordinance requesting that the Knox County Board of Health hold two hour-long public forums at their meetings, the same format for the Knox County Commission’s public forum. The Board of Health does host a public forum, but not at every meeting.

The Knox County Commission rules requires that a public forum be held at all meetings. With recent heightened interest, the commission recently expanded their public forum allowing for one hour of public forum before the commission began their business and another hour after commission business.

Ward released the following statement explaining his decision:

“At the end of the last commission meeting I saw what the stress of public forum can do to a person and it worried me. I prayed about it all week and decided that we need compassion right now and to come together as a community. I don’t want the volunteers to go through the stress that elected officials do. We need to be concerned about everyone’s mental health especially going into the holidays. I don’t think we should set a precedent of telling other committees how to run their meetings.”

Knox County Commissioner Kyle Ward

The ordinance had passed on first reading by an 8-3 vote at the last meeting of October and was set for a second reading at the first meeting of November.

I don’t think we should set a precedent of telling other committees how to run their meetings.”

Knox County Commissioner Kyle Ward

The commission did pass a resolution to establish a Knox County Advisory Committee on Health and Economic Well-Being. The 11-member group will serve as an advisory to the county mayor and commission.

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